Civil complaint against Fayette County Republican Central Committee could be dismissed


A civil complaint filed against the Fayette County Republican Central Committee may be thrown out of court for not following Ohio procedural law.

An entry was filed May 10 in the civil case between Jomi Ward, a Fayette County citizen, and the Fayette County Republican Central Committee. The complaint alleges Public Records Act violations occurred in the recent appointment of Fayette County Auditor Aaron Coole.

Coole was appointed in April by the Fayette County Republican Central Committee to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of former auditor Mike Smith. The week of Coole’s swearing-in, Ward filed a complaint April 19 alleging violations to the open meeting laws of Ohio Revised Code chapters 121 and 305 in the appointment of Coole.

These two chapters are respectively, “Public meetings — exceptions” and “Vacancy in county offices filled by election or appointment.”

Ward then amended the complaint April 20 asking for a stay of Coole’s appointment and for an investigation and formal reply of the findings; however, Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure describe the general rules of pleading and the form by which a complaint may be drafted and filed with the courts in Ohio.

The court entry states Ward’s complaints do not meet the state’s procedural requirements.

For example, a complaint must list the names and addresses of the parties and claims need to be made in numbered paragraphs; Ward’s complaints do not list full names and addresses or have numbered paragraphs.

The complaints must also list a statement of what the claim for relief is, and a demand for judgment for the entitled relief; Ward’s amended complaint only states: “Asking for a stay of the swearing in of Mr. Coole until possible violation of Sunshine Law can be done by investigation of procedures per ORC 121.22, ORC 305.02. Also, requesting a formal reply of the findings.”

The entry was submitted May 10 on behalf of the court stating that the pleading filed April 19 and the amended pleading filed April 20 do not comport to the requirements of the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure. The entry reads, “Plaintiff may amend these pleadings to comport with said Rules within 14 days of the date she receives this entry. Failure to timely file appropriate pleadings will result in the dismissal of this action, without prejudice.”

The entry was ordered to be served to Ward by personal service with the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office and served to the central committee by certified mail.
Citizen alleges Republican Central Committee violated Public Records Act

By Ashley Bunton

[email protected]

Ashley may be contacted by calling her at (740) 313-0355 or by searching for @ashbunton

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