Is There Unfair Prejudice to Any Party's Interest If Substantial Compliance With Statutory Requirements Have Been Met ?
In Fisher v. Mayfield (1987), 30 Ohio St.3d 8, 30 Ohio B. 16, 505 N.E.2d 975, the appealing party mistakenly indicated in its notice of appeal that the order being appealed from was that of the commission rather than the decision of the regional board of review.
Nevertheless, because the court recognized defendants were well aware that the last factual and legal issues brought before the administrative body were determined by the regional board of review, and it would be those facts and legal determinations that would be at issue on appeal, the court found substantial compliance with the statutory requirements.
In essence, the court found substantial compliance because the information contained in the notice of appeal was sufficient to notify the defendant of the order that was the subject of the appeal.
In Fisher, the commission disallowed the claimant's appeal in an order dated April 20, 1984.
In his notice of appeal filed with the common pleas court, the claimant stated that he was giving notice of appeal from a decision of the commission "dated May 2nd, 1984." Apparently, the notice of appeal correctly identified the claim number, the claimant and the employer. Id. at 8.
In Fisher, the common pleas court dismissed the appeal on grounds that the notice of appeal failed to vest the court with jurisdiction.
On further appeal, the court of appeals affirmed, holding that the notice of appeal was fatally defective.
On appeal to the Supreme Court of Ohio, the Fisher court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and remanded the case to the common pleas court for further proceedings. the Fisher court explained:
We are guided in this determination by the fundamental tenet of judicial review in Ohio that courts should decide cases on their merits.
Appellant herein has sufficiently complied with the jurisdictional dictates of R.C. 4123.519 as set forth by this court so as to meet the requirements of substantial compliance. by correctly designating the parties to the action, and the case number, all concerned parties had sufficient information from which they could determine that a particular claim or action was forthcoming. No party has alleged, and no party can now demonstrate, surprise or unfair prejudice to its interest. Id. at 11.