Attorney says ‘ignorance’ by lawmaker’s lawyer no excuse for late filing

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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A civil case against Ohio Rep. Sara Carruthers will go to trial in August 2020 after a Hamilton County judge last month denied Carruthers motion to dismiss the lawsuit in which she's accused of an illegal adoption contract.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The lawyer for a woman civilly suing Ohio Rep. Sara Carruthers, R-Hamilton, said the “ignorance of the law” for the lawmaker’s attorney is not a reason to ask the court to file a document weeks past its deadline.

Attorney Chris Wiest is asking Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Melba Marsh to deny attorney Rick Hyde’s request for a time variance, according to court documents.

Wiest filed in February a complaint on behalf of his client, Jamie Robinson, of Hamilton County, against Carruthers for, among other things, an “illegal adoption contract.”

Robinson allegedly made a deal a decade ago with Carruthers to give birth to a child for her to adopt in exchange for a home. Robinson gave birth to twins, whom Carruthers adopted. Robinson claims she was kicked out of a home a year after the adoption.

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Hyde filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, which in May was denied by Hamilton County Judge Melba Marsh. Other claims in Robinson’s lawsuit include, claiming Carruthers breached an oral contract and “made promises … to induce her into not disclosing an illegal adoption contract.”

Last week, Wiest filed a request for a default judgment because the Carruthers’ attorney failed to respond to the initial complaint by a June 7 deadline, 14 days after a motion to dismiss was denied.

Hyde filed the response on June 19 with the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts, two days after Wiest filed the motion for a default judgment.

Hyde told this news outlet on June 19 via text message, “We responded to the initial complaint with our motion to dismiss” in May. But he wrote in his motion requesting the allowance of a late filing he was “mistaken as to the amount of time required ... .”

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Hyde also said the mistake “constitutes excusable neglect” and allows the court to “exercise its discretion” and allow for the late filing.

Wiest said "ignorance of the law" is not excusable neglect, according to a June 24 court filing. Citing a 2015 case, Kidz Bop LLC vs. Broadhead, he wrote "... lack of knowledge of proper legal procedure does not constitute excusable neglect."

“The only reason given by counsel for defendant for his failure to timely file an answer is that counsel did not know the clear and unambiguous deadline ...,” Wiest wrote. “Without any legal authority, counsel merely asserts that his ignorance of the law constitutes excusable neglect ... .”

A trial for the civil suit has been set for Aug. 24, 2020.

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