In Sauter v. Integrity Cycles, L.L.C, 2024-Ohio-309, rendered on January 30, 2024, the 10th District Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision granting summary judgment finding that the refiled complaint was time-barred under Ohio’s savings statute, R.C. 2305.19(A). The plaintiff in Sauter 41(a) dismissed the complaint on January 5, 2022, and refiled the complaint on January 6, 2023. The trial court, bound by the precedent of Shue, held that the anniversary date required the complaint to be refiled under the savings statute no later than January 5, 2023.
However, the 10th District held that R.C. 1.14 and Civ. R. 6(A) excluded January 5, 2022, from computation of the one-year refiling deadline of the savings statute. Further, the court concluded the Ohio General Assembly, through R.C. 1.45 defined the one-year period to be 12 consecutive months starting from the day from which computation began. Through operation of those clear statutes, the 10th District adopted the analysis of the Ohio Supreme Court decision in Cox v. Dayton Pub. Schools Bd. Of Edn., 147 Ohio St.3d 298, 2016-Ohio-5505, finding the plaintiff’s case was timely refiled within the one-year savings statute on January 6, 2023.
Sauter overruled the 10th District’s decision in Shue v. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction, 2017-Ohio-443, and prior decisions from the 10th District that held that the “anniversary rule” applied to the calculation of one year under the savings statute. The “anniversary rule” uses the period from the day after the act or event occurred and concludes at the close of the first anniversary of the day the act took place.
The ruling’s implications are not limited to the application of the savings statute following a Civ. R. 41(A) voluntary dismissal. In rejecting the “anniversary rule,” the Court stated that, subject to conditions in R.C. 1.51, Revised Code sections 1.41 to 1.50 establish general provisions that apply to all statutes.
In overruling its decision in Shue, the 10th District acknowledged the conflict with other districts that have applied the “anniversary” approach. However, the Court stated, “Whatever confusion that may come is not for us to address at this time.”
This is an important decision to consider when calculating the time period for filing deadlines or making arguments related to that issue. As always, be sure to monitor developing case law for the effect it may have on pending cases you are handling. Irrespective of this ruling, OBLIC strongly encourages all litigators to avoid filing close to or on the last date of a time period to minimize the risk of malpractice.
|Gretchen K. Mote, Esq.
Director of Loss Prevention
Ohio Bar Liability Insurance Co.
|Merisa K. Bowers, Esq.
Loss Prevention Counsel
Ohio Bar Liability Insurance Co.
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