Suit against Fayette County Park District thrown out of court on procedural grounds


By Ashley Bunton - abunton@aimmediamidwest.com



A food caterer’s lawsuit against the Fayette County Park District was dismissed Monday for procedural reasons.

Chef Jason Gilmore, of Parkison House Catering, filed a complaint against the Fayette County Park District (FCPD) July 3 stating that the FCPD violated a contract with him to open a restaurant at the public golf course at The Greens in Washington Court House.

Gilmore stated the FCPD awarded him the contract to open a restaurant at The Greens but then violated the contract by not making repairs and other changes to the building so that the restaurant could open. Gilmore said the FCPD then sent him a notice to cancel the contract because he had not opened the restaurant.

Gilmore said the FCPD planned an event at The Greens July 4 and awarded a third-party food service, Werner’s BBQ, a contract to serve food at the event. Gilmore stated that this was a breach of the contract that the FCPD made with him, and on July 3 filed a temporary injunction and restraining order against FCPD to stop them from going forward with the event. The event July 4 was not prevented from going forward, according to records.

The case between caterer Jason Gilmore and the Fayette County Park District was a civil, not a criminal, case.

Civil case procedure is mandated under the Ohio Rules for Civil Procedure. Each set of court rules — whether it be in a criminal or civil law dispute — provides the rules of processing a claim through the courts. The rules are mandated by the Ohio Supreme Court.

Gilmore’s case against the FCPD was dismissed after the attorney for the FCPD made a motion to dismiss the complaint. The county prosecutor is the attorney for county agencies, and Fayette County Prosecutor Jess Weade, representing the FCPD, made a motion to dismiss the complaint, citing Gilmore did not follow two specific procedural rules in filing the case: insufficiency of process and failure to state a claim.

The court agreed Monday with FCPD’s motion to dismiss the case based upon insufficiency of process and failure to state a claim.

The dismissal granted Monday explains the two civil procedural rule errors.

Ohio rules state that the plaintiff of the suit, in this case Gilmore, must serve the people being complained about with a copy of their complaint either by personal service or by certified mail. According to court records, Gilmore sent members of the lawsuit notification of the complaint through regular mail.

More specifically, court records show that Gilmore filed for a temporary injunction and restraining order against the FCPD and sent those documents by certified mail to the FCPD through the Fayette County Commissioners office. This was presumably to stop the FCPD from going forward with the July 4 event in which they were using Werner’s BBQ to serve food.

While Gilmore did send service of the complaint through certified mail to FCPD through the Fayette County Commissioners office, court documents show that for other members named in the lawsuit, including Weade, all of the individual members of the park board, and Werner’s Smokehouse BBQ were not served by personal or certified mail. Under the court rules, the service by personal mail was insufficient.

In addition to insufficiency of service, the court said that the second procedural error Gilmore made was failure to state a claim.

Gilmore had filed an original complaint and a memorandum of support. Soon after he filed an amended complaint that did not include a memorandum of support, and the court’s dismissal on failure to state a claim means that he did not provide enough of an explanation to substantiate his claim that the FCPD breached their contract with his catering services.

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By Ashley Bunton

abunton@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or connect on Twitter by searching Twitter.com for @ashbunton

Reach Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or connect on Twitter by searching Twitter.com for @ashbunton