Justia Government & Administrative Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio
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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) approving and modifying a previously approved electric-security plan of Ohio Power Company, holding that the Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC) did not satisfy its burden to demonstrate reversible error on the record. The OCC challenged three riders authorized by the PUCO's order, including the power purchase agreement rider, the smart city rider, and the renewable generation rider. The Supreme Court affirmed the PUCO's order, holding (1) this Court lacked jurisdiction to review the OCC's challenge to the power purchase agreement rider because the OCC did not include the challenge in an application for rehearing; (2) the OCC failed to show that the PUCO lacked statutory authority to approve the smart city rider; and (3) the OCC did not establish that approving the renewable general rider on a placeholder basis will harm or prejudice ratepayers. View "In re Application of Ohio Power Co." on Justia Law

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In this expedited election case, the Supreme Court granted a writ of mandamus to compel the Plain Local School District Board of Education to forward to the Stark County Board of Elections a petition proposing the transfer of some of Plain Local School District's territory to Jackson Local School District, holding that the school board had a clear legal duty to forward the transfer petition to the board of elections. The petition sought to have a proposal to transfer the territory at issue placed on the March 17, 2020 primary election ballot. Under Ohio Rev. Code 3311.242(B)(2), the school board was required to certify the proposal to the board of elections by December 18, 2019. The school board stated that it would not act on the petition until there was a final determination of its claims in a previously filed lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of section 3311.242. Relators sought mandamus relief against the school board. The Supreme Court granted mandamus relief and ordered the school board to cause the board of elections to check the sufficiency of the signatures on the petition, holding that Relators established a clear legal right to the requested relief and a clear legal duty on the part of the school board to provide it. View "State ex rel. Dunn v. Plain Local School District Board of Education" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed Katrina D. Keith's claim seeking a writ of prohibition requiring the Lawrence County Board of Elections and its members (collectively, the Board) to remove Samuel T. Cramblit II's name from the ballot and prohibiting the Board from counting the votes Cramblit received as a candidate for the officer of Ironton Mayor in the November 5, 2019 general election, holding that Keith failed to state a claim in prohibition. Keith, Ironton's current mayor and Cramblit's opponent in the election, argued that the Board should not have certified Cramblit's name to the ballot because he did not meet the residency qualification for the office under Ironton's charter. The Supreme Court dismissed Keith's claim, holding that Keith failed to state a valid claim in prohibition because the Board did not exercise quasi-judicial power regarding Cramblit's candidacy. View "State ex rel. Keith v. Lawrence County Board of Elections" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the court of common pleas concluding that the Streetsboro Planning and Zoning Commission acted arbitrarily and capriciously by denying Appellant's application for a conditional-use permit, holding that that court of appeals exceeded its scope of review in this case. Finding that Appellant's expert lacked credibility, the Commission determined that Appellant did not establish by clear and convincing evidence that Appellant's proposed conditional use met the relevant standards outlined in the relevant ordinances. The court of appeals pleas determined that the Commission's denial of the application was arbitrary and capricious. The court of appeals reversed, holding that the Commission could have justifiably concluded that Appellant's expert lacked credibility. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the court of appeals had no authority to second-guess the court of common pleas' decision on questions going to the weight of the evidence supporting the Commission's findings. View "Shelly Materials, Inc v. City of Streetsboro Planning & Zoning Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied a writ of prohibition sought by Bryan R. Barney and Walbonns, LLC (the protestors) seeking to prevent the Union County Board of Elections from placing a township zoning referendum on the November 5, 2019 general election ballot, holding that the Board correctly denied the protest. At issue was the decision of the Board determining that a petition seeking to place a referendum concerning a zoning amendment on the November ballot contained a sufficient number of valid signatures and certifying the issue to the ballot. The protestors filed a complaint for a writ of prohibition, arguing that the Board lacked authority to place the petition on the ballot. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the petition met the statutory requirements and that the Board correctly rejected the protestors' arguments for invalidating the petition. View "State ex rel. Barney v. Union County Board of Elections" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Public Utilities Commission approving the portfolio plans submitted by Ohio Edison Company, the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company, and the Toledo Edison Company (collectively, FirstEnergy) but with a modification to include a "cost cap," holding that the Commission lacked authority to impose a cost-recovery cap in this case. In 2016, FirstEnergy submitted an application for approval of their portfolio plans for 2017 through 2019. The commission approved the plans but with a modification to include an annual cap on FirstEnergy's recovery of costs incurred in implementing certain programs not to exceed four percent of its reported 2015 total revenues. FirstEnergy and environmental groups appealed, challenging the cost cap. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded for further consideration, holding that the Commission acted unlawfully by including that four percent cost cap. View "In re Application of Ohio Edison Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied Relator's complaint seeking a writ of mandamus ordering the Greene County Board of Elections to verify the signatures on his petition and to certify his name to the November 5, 2019 general election ballot as a candidate for Xenia Township Trustee, holding that Relator did not establish a clear legal right to the relief he sought or a clear legal duty on the part of the Board to provide it. The Board rejected Relator's petition and did not complete its verification of the signatures because the circulator statement on each part-petition indicated forty-four signatures - the total number on the entire petition - rather than the number of signatures on the individual part-petition. The Supreme Court denied the writ of mandamus sought by Relator, holding that, under the circumstances of this case, Relator did not have a clear legal right to have his name certified to the ballot. View "State ex rel. Combs v. Greene Cty. Bd. of Elections" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed Save Your Courthouse Committee's action seeking a writ of prohibition against the city of Medina and its director of finance (collectively, the municipal respondents) and denied the mandamus claim on the merits, holding that the committee could not show that article II, section 1g of the Ohio Constitution imposes a duty to allow ten days to gather additional signatures in support of a municipal initiative petition. The committee prepared an initiative petition that would allow city electors to vote on a courthouse project. The petition did not have enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. When a committee member asked the board of elections to afford the committee ten additional days to gather signatures, the board denied the request. The committee then filed its complaint for writs of prohibition and mandamus. The Supreme Court denied relief, holding (1) because the city did not exercise quasi-judicial authority, prohibition was not available to block the ordinance; and (2) the committee failed to show that the board had a duty to allow ten extra days to gather additional signatures for the municipal initiative petition. View "State ex rel. Save Your Courthouse Committee v. City of Medina" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the trial court granting declaratory judgment ordering the planning commission of the city of Broadview Heights to issue a certificate of approval to Gloria Wesolowski, holding that the thirty-day time limit set forth in Ohio Rev. Code 711.09(C) applies to a city planning commission and prevailed over the municipal subdivision regulation at issue in this case. After the commission denied Wesolowski's application seeking to subdivide property Wesolowski filed an administrative appeal alleging that the commission failed to comply with section 711.09(C), which requires that the commission either approve or deny a subdivision application within thirty days after its submission. The trial court agreed and granted partial summary judgment in Wesolowski's favor. The commission appealed, arguing that section 711.09(C) does not apply to cities because the city's regulations, adopted pursuant to its home-rule powers, prevail over section 711.09(C). The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the time limit set forth in section 711.09(C) applies to both cities and villages; and (2) a home-rule municipality's adoption of subdivision regulations is an exercise of its police powers, and therefore, section 711.09(C) prevails over any conflicting municipal subdivision regulation. View "Wesolowski v. Broadview Heights Planning Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals granting Thomas Beyer's request for a writ of mandamus and ordering the Industrial Commission of Ohio to vacate its decision denying Beyer's request for an award under Ohio Rev. Code 4123.57 for the permanent partial loss of sight in his right eye, holding that a physician, not the commission, must determine the degree of a claimant's impairment. In denying Beyer's request, the Commission found that the record did not contain sufficient medical evidence to substantiate it because Beyer did not present medical evidence of the percentage of vision lost. The court of appeals ordered the commission to vacate its decision and grant Beyer the requested award, finding that Beyer had provided the commission with sufficient evidence for the commission to determine the percentage of vision lost. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) claims involving medical determinations may be established only by submitting appropriate medical evidence; and (2) Beyer's evidence fell short because he did not present evidence of a physician's determination of the degree of his impairment. View "State ex rel. Beyer v. Autoneum North America" on Justia Law