Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio

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Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendants alleging three civil claims brought under Ohio Rev. Code 2307.60. Plaintiff sought recovery for damages arising out of Defendants’ alleged violation of a criminal statute. The trial court dismissed the claims for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted, ruling that civil actions for damages may not be predicated upon an alleged violation of a criminal statute. The Ninth District Court of Appeals then certified a question to the Supreme Court as to whether the current version of Ohio Rev. Code 2307.60 independently authorizes a civil action for damages caused by criminal acts unless otherwise prohibited by law. The Supreme Court answered the certified question in the affirmative. View "Jacobson v. Kaforey" on Justia Law

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Eleven captains and one battalion chief in the Cleveland Fire Department (collectively, Relators) alleged that each of them was eligible for promotion in the fire department but was deprived of the opportunity to take a competitive promotional examination. Relators filed this action in mandamus against the City of Cleveland and its mayor (collectively, Respondents) seeking immediate cessation of the noncompetitive examination process that the City was using for promotion within the fire department. The firefighters’ union challenged the noncompetitive examination process on the same grounds in a declaratory injunction action in the court of common pleas. The Supreme Court dismissed Relators’ action, holding that Relators had an adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law by way of intervening in the declaratory judgment case, precluding a writ of mandamus here. View "State ex rel. Schroeder v. Cleveland" on Justia Law

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Darlene Burnham brought a personal injury action against the Cleveland Clinic and Cleveland Clinic Health System (collectively, Clinic). During discovery, Burnham requested certain documents that the Clinic alleged were not discoverable because they were shielded by the attorney-client privilege. Burnham filed a motion to compel discovery. The trial court granted the motion to compel. The Clinic appealed, arguing that the documents were protected by the attorney-client privilege and were not discoverable. The court of appeals dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction, concluding that there was no final, appealable order to review because the Clinic had failed to establish that there would be prejudice resulting from disclosure of the documents. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) a discovery order compelling the production of documents allegedly protected by the attorney-client privilege is a final, appealable order subject to immediate review because such an order causes harm and prejudice that cannot be meaningfully remedied by a later appeal; and (2) because the Clinic has plausibly alleged that the attorney-client privilege would be breached by disclosure of the requested materials, the order compelling the disclosure is a final, appealable order. View "Burnham v. Cleveland Clinic" on Justia Law

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Mason Companies, Inc., a company based in Wisconsin, appealed from the imposition of Ohio’s commercial-activity tax (CAT) on revenue it earned from its sales of goods through orders received via telephone, mail, and the Internet. Mason challenged the imposition of the CAT assessments based on its being operated outside Ohio, employing no personnel in Ohio, and maintaining no facilities in Ohio. The Supreme Court upheld the CAT assessments against Mason, holding that, after applying the holding in Crutchfield Corp. v. Testa, the lack of Mason’s physical presence within Ohio was not a necessary condition for imposing the obligations of the CAT law given that the $500,000 sales-receipts threshold adequately assured that Mason’s nexus with Ohio was substantial. View "Mason Cos., Inc. v. Testa" on Justia Law

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In this companion case to Crutchfield Corp. v. Testa, the Supreme Court considered Newegg, Inc.’s appeal from the imposition of Ohio’s commercial-activity tax (CAT) on revenue it earned from sales of computer-related products that it shipped into the state of Ohio. Newegg contested its CAT assessments based on its being operated outside Ohio, employing no personnel in Ohio, and maintaining no facilities in Ohio. In Crutchfield, the Supreme Court held that, under the Commerce Clause, the physical presence of an interstate business within Ohio is not a necessary condition for imposing the obligations of the CAT law given that the $500,000 sales receipts threshold adequately assures that the taxpayer’s nexus with Ohio is substantial. After applying Crutchfield’s holding in this case, the Supreme Court upheld the CAT assessments against Newegg. View "Newegg, Inc. v. Testa" on Justia Law

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The tax commissioner issued commercial-activity tax (CAT) assessments against the Crutchfield Corporation on revenue it earned from sales of electronic products that it shipped from the state of Ohio. Crutchfield, whose business in Ohio consisted solely of shipping goods from outside the state to its consumers in Ohio using the United States Postal Service or common-carrier delivery services, challenged the issuance of CAT assessments against it, arguing that Ohio may not impose a tax on the gross receipts associated with its sales to Ohio consumers because Crutchfield lacks a “substantial nexus” with Ohio. Citing case law interpreting this substantial-nexus requirement, Crutchfield argued that its nexus to Ohio was not sufficiently substantial because it lacked a “physical presence” in Ohio. The Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) affirmed the assessments issued by the tax commissioner. The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the BTA and upheld the CAT assessments against Crutchfield, holding (1) the physical presence requirement recognized by the United States Supreme Court for purposes of use-tax collection does not extend to business-privileges taxes such as the CAT; and (2) the statutory threshold of $500,000 of Ohio sales constitutes a sufficient guarantee of the substantiality of an Ohio nexus for purposes of the dormant Commerce Clause. View "Crutchfield Corp. v. Testa" on Justia Law

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Appellants in this case were Dr. Abubakar Atiq Durrani and several medical providers and hospitals. Plaintiffs in the underlying cases were more than fifty of Dr. Durrani’s former patients. Judge Robert Ruehlman of the Court of Common Pleas of Hamilton County was one of the twelve judges to whom the cases were originally assigned. Plaintiffs in the Durrani cases filed with Administrative Judge Robert Winkler a motion to transfer and consolidate the cases to the docket of Judge Ruehlman. Judge Ruehlman signed and entered the proposed consolidation order that Plaintiffs had submitted and sua sponte began signing entries of reassignment transferring the cases to his docket. Appellants filed a complaint for extraordinary relief seeking a writ of prohibition and writ of mandamus. The court of appeals dismissed the complaint. The Supreme Court reversed and issued a writ of mandamus and a writ of prohibition, holding (1) Appellants lacked an adequate remedy in the ordinary course of the law and had a clear legal right to have each underlying case returned to the judge to whom the case was originally assigned; and (2) Judge Ruehlman patently and unambiguously lacked the authority to order the consolidation of the underlying malpractice cases. View "State ex rel. Durrani v. Ruehlman" on Justia Law

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In 2010, Plaintiffs filed a complaint in state court alleging medical malpractice and derivative claims against Defendants for medical care Plaintiffs received in 2008. Plaintiffs dismissed their claims without prejudice and, in 2012, filed a qui tam action in federal district court. In 2013, Plaintiffs moved for leave to file an amended complaint adding state law medical-malpractice claims. The federal district court denied leave and granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss. In 2013, Plaintiffs filed a complaint in state court alleging state malpractice claims. The trial court granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss the case, concluding that Plaintiffs failed to state a claim because both the statute of limitations and the statute of repose applicable to Plaintiffs’ claims had expired. The trial court further determined that 28 U.S.C. 1367(d), the federal tolling statute, applies only to protect claims while pending in federal court, and because Plaintiffs’ motion to amend the complaint to add the malpractice claims was denied, the state claims were never pending and were not protected. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that once a claim has vested, the statute of repose can no longer operate to bar litigation. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court appropriately dismissed the case because neither the saving statute nor the tolling statute applied in this case. View "Antoon v. Cleveland Clinic Foundation" on Justia Law

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During Husband and Wife’s divorce proceedings, the trial court entered a decree of dissolution approving and incorporating a separation agreement that the parties entered into. The agreement provided that Husband pay spousal support to Wife for her lifetime. Husband later filed a motion for relief from judgment pursuant to Ohio R. Civ. P. 60(B), requesting that the spousal support order be vacated because his annual income had decreased significantly. The trial court dismissed Husband’s motion, concluding that Rule 60(B) relief was not available because the trial court had not retained jurisdiction to modify the spousal support award. The Second District Court of Appeals affirmed but certified that its holding was in direct conflict with the holding of the Tenth District in Noble v. Noble. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a trial court does not have jurisdiction under Rule 60(B) to vacate or modify an award of spousal support in a decree of divorce or dissolution where the decree does not contain a reservation of jurisdiction to modify the award of spousal support pursuant to Ohio Rev. Code 3105.18(E). View "Morris v. Morris" on Justia Law

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A circuit court in Boone County, Kentucky entered a multimillion dollar judgment against Stanley Chesley, a former attorney, for his conduct in a class action lawsuit that eventually settled. Chesley filed suit in Ohio state court seeking an injunction to prevent Respondents from collecting on the judgment and to relitigate the case. The Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Ruehlman acted outside its jurisdiction to repeatedly shield Chesley and his assets from creditors. Relator Angela Ford filed a petition for a writ of prohibition to preclude Judge Ruehlman from continuing to exercise jurisdiction over the Hamilton County case. The Supreme Court granted a peremptory writ of prohibition and ordered the judge to vacate his orders, holding that Judge Ruehlman had no statutory authority to grant relief in this case. View "State ex rel. Ford v. Ruehlman" on Justia Law