Justia Government & Administrative Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio
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The Supreme Court granted in part and denied in part a writ of mandamus compelling the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) to produce records requested under Ohio's Public Records Act, Ohio Rev. Code 149.43, holding that Relator was entitled to mandamus relief as to certain requests.In addition to his mandamus request, Relator sought an award of statutory damages and leave to amend his mandamus complaint to include additional respondents. The Supreme Court granted the writ in part, holding (1) DRC withheld some of the requested records based on a public records exception that was inapplicable in this case; (2) this Court denies Relator's request for leave to add certain entities as respondents; and (3) Relator was not eligible to receive statutory damages. View "State ex rel. Reese v. Ohio Dep't of Rehabilitation & Correction Legal Dep't" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals denying a writ of mandamus ordering the Industrial Commission of Ohio to vacate its decision granting a specific safety requirement (VSSR) award to Josue Morales, holding that Target Auto Repair failed to establish plain error in the proceedings below.Morales sustained injuries while working as a technician for Target Auto Repair. His workers' compensation claim was allowed for multiple conditions. The Commission further granted Morales's application for a VSSR award in the amount of fifty percent of the maximum weekly rate. Target Auto Repair subsequently brought this mandamus action. The court of appeals denied the mandamus request. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Target Auto Repair may not appeal the court of appeals' adoption of findings of fact or conclusions of law to which it failed timely to object. View "State ex rel. Target Auto Repair v. Morales" on Justia Law

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In consolidated actions, the Supreme Court of Ohio held that an offense-and-incident report, which initiates a police investigation and is a public record under Ohio’s Public Records Act, R.C. 149.43, is not limited to the form that police officers fill out in order to report the incident but also includes certain contemporaneous reports created by the investigating officers that document the officers’ observations and the statements of witnesses at the scene. The court ordered Chillicothe to disclose a limited number “supplement narratives” that the city had withheld when Myers had requested the public-record incident reports. The court concluded that other supplement narratives constitute confidential law-enforcement investigatory records, “investigatory work product,” under R.C. 149.43(A)(2)(c). The most important factor is timing; the initial observations by officers and the initial witness statements taken at the physical location close to the time that the incident occurred constitute incident information that may not be regarded as specific investigatory work product, even when the information has not been incorporated into the incident-report form. View "Myers v. Meyers" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that a reallocation of local-government funds regarding fines collected from the use of traffic cameras during the preceding fiscal year, called the "spending setoff," and the "deposit requirement" that municipalities file a civil action to enforce citations issued using traffic cameras to pay an advance deposit in the court are not unconstitutional.Appellees, municipalities that both operated programs to enforce their traffic laws with cameras, brought this action for a declaratory judgment and for injunction relief asserting that the "spending setoff" and the "deposit requirement" infringed on its municipal home rule powers, in violation of Ohio Const. art. XVIII, 3. Appellees requested a preliminary injunction, which the trial court denied. The court of appeals reversed, ruling that the spending setoff and deposit requirement unconstitutionally penalize municipalities for exercising their home-rule authority to enforce their traffic laws with cameras. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that neither the spending setoff nor the deposit requirement are unconstitutional. View "Village of Newburgh Heights v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) upholding the decision of the tax commissioner denying Colonial, Inc.'s application for a tax refund, holding that there was no error.In its application, Colonial argued that it was entitled to a refund of $269,432 in resort-area taxes that it paid from 2011 through 2016. Specifically, Colonial sought to recover a locally-imposed resort-area gross receipts excise tax that the village of Put-in-Bay originally enacted in 1995, arguing that, under Ohio Rev. Code 5739.101, the village must react the resort-area tax after each decennial census. The tax commissioner denied the refund claim, and the BTA affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the BTA correctly affirmed the tax commissioner's denial of Colonial's application for a refund. View "Colonial, Inc. v. McClain" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied a writ of mandamus sought by Ray Brubaker to compel the Lawrence County Board of Elections to place a local liquor option on the primary-election ballot, holding that Brubaker failed to establish that he was entitled to the writ.Brubaker filed with the Board paperwork requesting a liquor option on the May 3, 2022 primary election ballot for the Hanging Rock precinct allowing Sunday liquor sales. The Board rejected the liquor-option petition because Brubaker did not submit a Form No. 5-N. Brubaker subsequently filed a complaint for a writ of mandamus against the Board. The Supreme Court denied the writ, holding that the Board did not abuse its discretion or act contrary to law. View "State ex rel. Brubaker v. Lawrence County Board of Elections" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that the second revised General Assembly-district plan adopted by respondent Ohio Redistricting Commission violates Ohio Const. art. XI, sections 6(A) and 6(B) and ordered the Commission to be reconstituted.In the first time this issue was before the Supreme Court, the Court held that the Commission's original plan was invalid because the Commission had not attempted to meet the standards set forth in Article XI, Sections 6(A) and 6(B). The Commission subsequently adopted a revised plan, but the Supreme Court invalidated that plan because the Commission again had not satisfied sections 6(A) and 6(B). At issue now before the Supreme Court was the Commission's second revised plan. The Commission invalidated the plan in its entirety, holding that the second revised plan violates sections 6(A) and 6(B) and the a newly reconstituted Commission must adopt a new plan in conformity with the Ohio Constitution. View "League of Women Voters of Ohio v. Ohio Redistricting Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed in part the judgment of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) abating a tax penalty imposed against Appellee by the Tax Commissioner of Ohio, holding that the BTA's abatement of the penalty was clearly erroneous.The tax commissioner assessed unpaid tax in the amount of $4,821 as against Appellee and exercised his statutory discretion to impose a fifteen percent penalty amounting to $723. The BTA upheld the tax assessment against Appellee but found that the tax commissioner had abused his discretion in assessing a penalty. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that the BTA's holding that the tax commissioner abused his discretion and that the BTA's order abating the penalty were clearly erroneous. View "Karr v. McClain" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that Petitioners showed beyond a reasonable doubt that the General Assembly-district plan adopted by the Ohio Redistricting Commission on January 22, 2022 violated Ohio Const. Art. XI, 6(A) and (B) and ordered the Commission to adopt a new plan.On January 12, 2022, the Supreme Court held that the General Assembly-district plan adopted by the Commission in September 2021 was invalid and that the Commission had not drawn a district plan that met neither of the standards set forth in sections 6(A) and 6(B) and ordered the Commission to adopt a new plan. On January 22, the Commission adopted a new plan. The Supreme Court again ordered the Commission to be reconstituted and to adopt yet a newer plan, holding that the new plan violated sections 6(A) and 6(B). View "League of Women Voters of Ohio v. Ohio Redistricting Comm." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals granting a writ ordering the Industrial Commission of Ohio to vacate its order awarding compensation to Cami Bowman, holding that the court of appeals correctly concluded that the Commission abused its discretion.Bowman sought compensation for the permanent partial loss of her sight based on a seventy percent bilateral loss of vision. The Commission awarded compensation based on only a forty-five percent loss of sight in the left eye, maintaining a prior award based on a sixty-seven percent loss of sight in the right eye. The court of appeals granted Bowman a writ ordering the Commission to vacate its order and award her requested compensation, ruling that the Commission abused its discretion by relying on a portion of a physician's report that the physician had disclaimed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Commission failed to base its decision on medical evidence. View "State ex rel. Bowman v. Industrial Commission" on Justia Law