Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Tenth District: Insurance Company Not Entitled to Restitution

A man who said he shouldn’t have to pay restitution to an insurance company because it was not the victim of his crime will see his case go back to a trial court for further proceedings. His appeal was affirmed in part and reversed in part by the Tenth District Court of Appeals.

In August 2013, Brandon D. Johnson was convicted of stealing and crashing a car. At the sentencing hearing, the state requested Johnson pay $6,256 in restitution to the car owner’s insurance company. In addition to ordering a 17-month prison sentence with 221 days credit for time served, a Franklin County Court of Common Pleas judge approved the restitution request and told Johnson that he had to pay the insurance company directly.

Johnson appealed the restitution payment to the Tenth District Court of Appeals stating the insurance company is not the victim in this case and therefore he shouldn’t have to pay the company. Johnson didn’t appeal his conviction for stealing the car.

Tenth District Judge Amy C. O’Grady wrote the unanimous opinion and said while a trial court can “impose restitution in order to compensate for a victim’s economic loss,” and there could be instances when an insurance company is the victim of a crime, “we reject the notion that an insurance company becomes a victim simply because, pursuant to a contract, the company agreed to and in fact reimbursed its insured for losses caused by criminal conduct.”

The appeals court also rejected the proposal that Johnson should pay restitution to the car’s owner if it decided he didn’t owe money to the insurance company.

“The state asks that, if we find error, we remand this matter with instructions to the trial court to order appellant to pay restitution to the owner of the stolen vehicle for the full amount of the cost of the damage to his vehicle, including the owner’s out-of-pocket expenses and the amount paid by his insurance company,” Judge O’Grady wrote. “The state cites no authority in support of its request.”

Judge O’Grady wrote that because Johnson didn’t appeal his stolen vehicle conviction, the court affirmed that portion of the court’s judgment.

Judges William A. Klatt and Julia L. Dorrian concurred in the decision.

State v. Johnson, 2014-Ohio-4826
Criminal Appeal From: Franklin County Court of Common Pleas
Judgment Appealed From Is: Affirmed in part, reversed in part
Date of Judgment Entry on Appeal: October 30, 2014

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