[Cite as McCall v. Great Lakes Constr. Co., 2021-Ohio-582.]
COURT OF APPEALS OF OHIO
EIGHTH APPELLATE DISTRICT
COUNTY OF CUYAHOGA
MICHAEL W. MCCALL, :
THE GREAT LAKES CONSTRUCTION :
COMPANY, ET AL.,
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
RELEASED AND JOURNALIZED: March 4, 2021
Civil Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas
Case No. CV-16-871681
Michael W. McCall, pro se.
Frantz Ward L.L.P., Maris McNamara, Marc Sanchez, and
Angela D. Lydon, for appellee.
MARY EILEEN KILBANE, J.:
Pro se plaintiff-appellant, Michael McCall (“McCall”), appeals the
trial court’s decision to reassign the trial of his case to a visiting judge on the day
of trial because of a scheduling conflict. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the
trial court’s decision.
Factual and Procedural History
This case stems from McCall’s appeal under R.C. 4123.512, denying
McCall’s claim for workers’ compensation benefits for the condition of “depressive
disorder NOS.” McCall suffered a workplace injury to his left knee on November
7, 2006. McCall made a claim against his self-insured employer, defendant-
appellee, The Great Lakes Construction Company (“Great Lakes”), who approved
the conditions of left-knee sprain/strain and a left-knee medial meniscal tear.
More than seven years later, on January 8, 2014, McCall submitted
a request for an additional allowance of “depressive disorder NOS” from his initial
knee injury. A hearing took place before a district hearing officer of the Industrial
Commission of Ohio on April 4, 2014. The district hearing officer denied the claim
for depressive disorder NOS. McCall appealed the denial and a subsequent hearing
took place on May 19, 2014, with a staff hearing officer, who affirmed the district
hearing officer’s decision. McCall requested an appeal from the Industrial
Commission of Ohio, which denied McCall’s appeal of the staff hearing officer’s
On August 13, 2014, pursuant to R.C. 4123.512, McCall appealed the
denial of his claim to the Medina County Court of Common Pleas. After being
transferred to the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court General Division, the
case was voluntarily dismissed on November 13, 2015. McCall refiled his case one
year later on November 9, 2016, and after several continuances, the trial was
scheduled for December 2, 2019.
On December 4, 2019, the trial court informed the parties that due
to a conflict on the docket, the case was going to be referred to the administrative
judge for reassignment to a visiting judge so the trial could go forward.
Significantly, McCall did not object to the court’s reassignment of the case to the
visiting judge. The case was reassigned to a visiting judge, and the parties were
taken to the old courthouse across the street. After initial pretrial discussions, a
jury was impaneled, and the trial went forward.
For trial, McCall had subpoenaed several witnesses, including a
treating doctor, to testify; however, the docket reflects that only the subpoena to
his doctor was served. The visiting judge was as accommodating to McCall as she
could be, giving McCall several opportunities to contact his witnesses because of
his concern that the relocation to the visiting judge’s courtroom would confuse his
witnesses. The visiting judge went so far as to adjourn early on the first day of trial
to enable McCall to contact his witnesses. McCall was unable to contact any
witness besides his doctor, who stated he was unable to testify without his entire
medical file. The next day McCall called himself, testified as to his injuries, and
At that point, Great Lakes moved for a directed verdict on the
grounds that McCall failed to meet his burden to prove, with expert medical
testimony, that his depressive disorder NOS condition was a result of his original,
on-the-job, left-knee injury, such that he was entitled to participate in the workers’
compensation fund. The court granted the motion for directed verdict.
This appeal follows. McCall presents one assignment of error for our
Assignment of Error
I. On 12-02-2019, the trial of this case was reassigned to a visiting judge
due to a conflict on the original trial court’s docket.
McCall’s only assignment of error challenges the trial court’s
decision to reassign his case to be tried by a visiting judge. At the onset we note
that the trial court has authority to reassign a case pursuant to Sup.R. 4(B), which
authorizes the administrative judge to “assign cases to individual judges of the
court or division * * *.”
Furthermore, the Supreme Court of Ohio has held that “[a] party
may timely object to the authority of a visiting judge on the basis of an improper
case transfer or assignment, but failure to timely enter such an objection waives
the procedural error.” In re J.J.,
111 Ohio St. 3d 205
855 N.E.2d 851
, ¶ 17; accord State v. Stansell, 2d Dist. Montgomery No. 23630, 2010-Ohio-
5756, ¶ 28-30 (holding “[b]ecause Stansell did not object to the assignment to
the visiting judge, he failed to preserve the error and has waived it for purposes of
appellate review”); State v. Waltzer, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 94444, 2011-Ohio-
5147, ¶ 9; State v. Laster, 2d Dist. Montgomery No. 27762, 2018-Ohio-3601, ¶ 11.
McCall’s brief fails to point to any evidence in the record or trial
transcript demonstrating that he objected to his case being assigned to a visiting
judge. Because McCall never objected to the assignment, he failed to preserve any
possible error and waived the issue for the purposes of this review. In re J.J. at ¶
17. Furthermore, even if McCall had objected to the transfer, there is no evidence
in the record that he was prejudiced by the transfer.
Therefore, we overrule McCall’s single assignment of error and
affirm the case transfer and the trial court’s directed verdict in favor of appellee,
The Great Lakes Construction Company.
It is ordered that appellee recover from appellant costs herein taxed.
The court finds there were reasonable grounds for this appeal.
It is ordered that a special mandate issue out of this court directing the
common pleas court to carry this judgment into execution.
A certified copy of this entry shall constitute the mandate pursuant to Rule 27
of the Rules of Appellate Procedure.
MARY EILEEN KILBANE, JUDGE
MARY J. BOYLE, A.J., and
EILEEN T. GALLAGHER, J., CONCUR