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2 of 97 DOCUMENTS
DEANNA S. PANDYA, et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. JAMES M. FROST, et al.,
Defendants-Appellees
C.A. NO. 1978
COURT OF APPEALS OF OHIO, NINTH APPELLATE DISTRICT, COUNTY
OF WAYNE
1984 Ohio App. LEXIS 11441

August 29, 1984


PRIOR HISTORY:
[*1] APPEAL FROM
JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COMMON PLEAS
COURT COUNTY OF WAYNE, OHIO, CASE NO. 80
CI 375

COUNSEL: GEORGE A. CLARK and TIMOTHY S.


GUSTER, Attorneys at Law, 75 E. Market St., Akron,
OH 44308 for Plaintiffs.
MARK W. BASERMAN and MORRIS STUTZMAN,
Attorneys at Law, 449 N. Market St., Wooster, OH 44691
for Defendants.
JUDGES: MAHONEY, J., QUILLIN, J., CONCUR.
OPINION BY: BAIRD, P.J.
OPINION
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
This cause was heard August 2, 1984, upon the
record in the trial court, including the transcript of
proceedings, and the briefs. It was argued by counsel for
the parties and submitted to the court. We have reviewed
each assignment of error and make the following
disposition:

On August 22, 1980, Dr. Shirish Pandya was arrested


by the Wayne County Sheriff's Department and charged
with aggravated murder in the death of his ex-wife Mary
Pandya. Dr. Pandya was incarcerated in the Wayne
County jail. On Sunday, August 24, Dr, Pandya was
found dead in his cell. He had committed suicide by
hanging.
Dr. Pandya's wife, Deanna, filed this action for
herself and on behalf of Dr. Pandya's three children
against the sheriff and his agents alleging negligence
[*2] in the wrongful death of Dr. Pandya. After a trial
on all issues the jury found in favor of the defendants.
ASSIGNMENTS OF ERROR
"I.
The trial court erred by permitting
defendants-appellees to present evidence concerning the
crime of which Dr. Shirish R. Pandya was accused,
thereby permitting the jury to consider the guilt or
innocence of Dr. Shirish R. Pandya, and resulting in a
verdict based upon passion and prejudice.
"II. The trial court erred in not instructing the jury
that Dr. Shirish R. Pandya was entitled to be presumed
innocent of the crime of which he was accused until
proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, thereby
permitting the jury to consider the guilt or innocence of
Dr. Shirish R. Pandya, and resulting in a verdict based

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1984 Ohio App. LEXIS 11441, *2

upon passion and prejudice."


Pandya maintains that the various references to the
reasons for Dr. Pandya's incarceration were improperly
before the jury and were designed to incite passion and
prejudice. Prior to trial Pandya moved for an order in
limine to preclude testimony regarding the events of
August 22, 1980, which led to Dr. Pandya's arrest. The
trial court denied the motion and later admitted such
testimony over the objection [*3] of counsel.
Although the circumstances giving rise to this action
were tragic, the statements allowed into evidence were
within the realm of relevancy. Pandya was obliged to
prove not only a breach of duty on the sheriff's part, but
she also had to demonstrate damages which resulted. The
testimony regarding
Dr. Pandya's arrest and
incarceration was not only necessary to provide the jury
with the relevant background, but it also served to
suggest a limitation on Dr. Pandya's future earning
ability. The record indicates the appellant sought to
provide the jury with evidence of Dr. Pandya's agitated
and disturbed mental state. At the same time, however,
Pandya attempted to preclude testimony regarding Dr.
Pandya's actions leading up to the suicide. We conclude
the motion in limine was properly denied and the
testimony should have been admitted.
Pandya also maintains the trial court erred by failing
to give a specific instruction regarding the presumption of
innocence in criminal cases. Consideration of Dr.
Pandya's innocence at the time of his death relates to his
future earnings capacity and the measure of damages.
Before this court will reverse the judgment of [*4]
the trial court, the appellant must demonstrate prejudice
which resulted from any error. In the present case the
appellant has failed to demonstrate prejudice. The
interrogatories with the verdict indicate the jury found the
sheriff was not negligent. Therefore, as it turned out,
consideration of Dr. Pandya's future earnings was not an
issue. Therefore, Pandya was not prejudiced by the trial
court's failure to give a specific instruction. In addition,
the court gave an appropriate charge as to the measure of
pecuniary damages. The assignments of error are
overruled.
ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR III
"The trial court erred by excluding evidence that
defendants-appellants were on notice that it was

dangerous to fail to keep a prisoner in their custody under


observation, such notice being established by a previous
suicidal death of a prisoner in their custody, and such
evidence being offered for the limited purpose of
showing notice."
The prior suicides which Pandya sought to include to
establish notice on the part of the sheriff did not take
place in the present jail. The ultimate test with respect to
admissibility is relevancy. The trial court determined that
such [*5] evidence was not relevant. We agree.
Relevancy requires some nexus between the events,
particularly when prior acts are used to demonstrate
nature of a condition. The prior suicides had taken place
in conventional cells with bars. The testimony
demonstrates the facility in which Dr. Pandya was held
was specifically designed without bars to prevent
suicides. Any relevant similarities in the acts were lost
because of the change in facilities. The testimony was
properly excluded. The assignment of error is overruled.
ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR IV
"The trial court erred in application of the former
wrongful death statute."
The appellant maintains the damage provision of
R.C. 2125.02, as amended, was omitted to her prejudice.
We disagree. Since the jury failed to reach the issue of
damages, the appellant was not prejudiced. Therefore, a
new trial is not warranted. The assignment of error is
overruled.
ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR V
"The trial court erred by not granting
plaintiff-appellant a new trial based upon the ground that
the jury verdict was manifestly against the weight of the
evidence."
We have reviewed the transcript of the trial and we
conclude there [*6] was competent, credible evidence to
support the jury's verdict. Therefore, we will not reverse
the judgment as being against the weight of the evidence.
C.E. Morris Co. v. Foley Construction Co. (1978), 54
Ohio St. 2d 279. The assignment of error is overruled.
The judgment is affirmed.
The court finds that there were reasonable grounds
for this appeal.

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1984 Ohio App. LEXIS 11441, *6

We order that a special mandate, directing the County of


Wayne Common Pleas Court to carry this judgment into
execution, shall issue out of this court. A certified copy
of this journal entry shall constitute the mandate,
pursuant to App. R. 27.
Immediately upon the filing hereof, this document
shall constitute the journal entry of judgment, and it shall

be file stamped by the Clerk of the Court of Appeals at


which time the period for review shall begin to run. App.
R. 22(E).
Costs taxed to appellants.
Exceptions.