Justia Government & Administrative Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio
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The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals' decision reversing Defendant-doctor's convictions on the ground that the trial court should have granted Defendant's motion to suppress incriminating answers he gave during a medical board investigation, holding that the State may use incriminating answers given by a doctor during a medical board investigation in a subsequent criminal prosecution of the doctor.Defendant was convicted of three third-degree misdemeanor counts of sexual imposition. The court of appeals reversed the denial of Defendant's motion to suppress statements he had made to the medical board investigator as having been illegally compelled in violation of the Fifth Amendment. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) a medical license is a property right, the threatened loss of which is a form of coercion that can compromise the constitutional privilege against self-incrimination; (2) for coercion to be sufficient to warrant the suppression of statements made during a medical board investigative interview, the person making the statements must subjectively believe that asserting the privilege against self-incrimination could cause the loss of the person's medical license, and that belief must be objectively reasonable; and (3) Defendant's belief that he could lose his medical license if he refused to truthfully answer questions posed by the medical-board investigator was not objectively reasonable. View "State v. Gideon" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) dismissing a complaint against a company that provided submetering services on the grounds that it did not have jurisdiction over the claims, holding that PUCO inappropriately applied a jurisdictional test of its own making.The PUCO's jurisdiction is provided by statute, and the PUCO generally has jurisdiction over any business that is a public utility. In dismissing the complaint in this case, the PUCO did not look to the statutory scheme to determine whether Nationwide Energy Partners, LLC, the submeterer, was a public utility. Instead, the PUCO used a test set forth in a 1992 PUCO order and recently modified by the PUCO to determine the extent of its jurisdiction. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the PUCO's jurisdiction is established by statute, not an agency-created test; and (2) therefore, this case is remanded for the PUCO to determine whether it has jurisdiction based upon the jurisdictional statute. View "Wingo v. Nationwide Energy Partners, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted a writ of mandamus sought by Omni Energy Group, LLC as to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management chief Eric Vendel ordering him to rule upon the validity of objections that were submitted concerning Omni's two saltwater injection well permit applications, holding that Omni was entitled to the writ.When the division chief did not render a decision on Omni's applications Omni filed a complaint against the division, Vendel, and department director Mary Mertz, sought a writ of mandamus compelling them to either issue or deny the permits. The Supreme Court granted a writ of mandamus, but instead of ordering Vendel immediately to render a decision on the applications, the Court ordered him to rule upon the validity of objections as required under Ohio Adm.Code 1501:9-3-06(H)(2)(c), holding (1) Omni had a clear legal right to, and Vendel had a clear legal duty to provide, a ruling on the validity of objections submitted against the applications; and (2) Omni did not suggest a basis for granting a writ of mandamus as to the division or to Mertz. View "State ex rel. Omni Energy Group, LLC v. Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Oil & Gas Resources Management" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied the petition for a writ of mandamus filed by the South Euclid Municipal Court asking the Supreme Court to compel the City of South Euclid to comply with a funding order issued by the municipal court judge, holding that the judge was not entitled to mandamus relief.The judge in this case requested that the City allocate thirty percent more money than allocated for the previous year for the municipal court's 2019 budget. The court then issued a funding order directing the city council to allocate the full requested amount. The city council did not give the court the full amount. The municipal court subsequently filed a complaint for a writ of mandamus seeking to compel the city to comply with the judge's funding order. The Supreme Court denied the writ, holding that the municipal court failed to establish its entitlement to a writ. View "State ex rel. Williams-Byers v. City of South Euclid" on Justia Law

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In this original action involving a dispute between two judges who sit on the Sandusky County Court the Supreme Court granted a peremptory writ of prohibition that vacated Judge John Kolesar's judgment entry vacating Judge Mary Elizabeth Fiser's judgment entries granting pay raises to certain personnel, holding that Judge Kolesar's vacating entry arose from an exercise of judicial power that he patently and unambiguously lacked jurisdiction to exercise.Shortly after Judge Fiser issued entries granting pay raises to court personnel Judge Kolesar, who serves as the court's administrative judge, issued a judgment entry vacating Judge Fiser's entries and forbidding pay raises and the expenditure of court resources that did not have his approval. Judge Fiser sought a writ of prohibition to prevent Judge Kolesar from enforcing his entry, and Judge Kolesar sought a writ of prohibition to prohibit Judge Fiser from making future entries that infringe on his powers as administrative judge. The Supreme Court granted a peremptory writ of prohibition that vacated Judge Kolesar's vacating entry, holding that Judge Kolesar patently and unambiguously lacked jurisdiction to issue his vacating entry. View "State ex rel. Fiser v. Kolesar" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the orders of the Public Utilities Commission finding that intervening appellee Ohio Edison Company's 2017 earnings were not significantly excessive, holding that the Commission's decision to exclude revenue resulting from Ohio Edison's Distribution Modernization Rider (DMR) from the earnings test was not reasonable.Electric distribution utilities that opt of provide service under an electric security plan must undergo an annual earnings review by Commission. If the Commission finds that the plan resulted in significantly excessive earnings compared to similar companies, the utility must return the excess to its customers. The Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel appealed from the Commission's orders finding that Edison's 2017 earnings were not significantly excessive. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Commission's exclusion from the earnings test revenue resulting from the DMR, which was approved as part of Edison's electric security plan, was not reasonable. View "In re Determination of Existence of Significantly Excessive Earnings for 2017 Under the Electric Security Plan of Ohio Edison Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals denying the request brought by Manor Care, Inc., a self-insured employer, for a writ of mandamus ordering the Bureau of Workers' Compensation to reimburse it for lump-sum permanent-total-disability (PTD) compensation payments, holding that Manor Care did not establish a clear legal right to relief.Manor Care made lump-sum payments under protest to two injured workers in order to correct its long-term underpayment of their permanent-total-disability (PTD) compensation. Manor Care then requested reimbursement from the Disabled Workers' Relief Fund, contending that Manor Care's underpayment of PTD compensation should be offset by the Bureau's corresponding overpayment of relief-fund benefits to the same employees, for which Manor Care had reimbursed the Bureau as part of its annual assessments. The Bureau denied the request. Manor Care then filed this action alleging that the Bureau abused its discretion by requiring Manor Care to, in effect, double-pay the purported PTD underpayment to the employees and refusing to reimburse Manor Care for the PTD underpayment amount. The court of appeals denied the writ. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Manor Care identified no authority granting a clear legal right to the relief it sought. View "State ex rel. Manor Care, Inc. v. Bureau of Workers' Compensation" 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 claims ordering, subject to certain redactions, the public release of a video from an exterior courthouse security camera that captured the shooting of a judge, holding that the video was not exempt from release as a public record.The court of claims determined that competent evidence had not been presented to establish that the video was a "security record" under Ohio Rev. Code 149.433(A)(1) and was therefore exempt from release. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the video was a security record that was exempt from public disclosure. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the surveillance video did not fall squarely within the security-record exemption. View "Welsh-Huggins v. Jefferson County Prosecutor's Office" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that a common pleas court has subject-matter jurisdiction to determine whether an easement granting a public utility the right to trim, cut and remove trees, limbs, underbrush or other obstructions permits the public utility to use herbicide to control vegetation within the easement.At issue was whether a public utility may remove vegetation from an easement by use of herbicide. The court of common pleas dismissed this matter as falling within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO). The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) this case was not within the exclusion jurisdiction of the PUCO and may be heard and decided by the court of common pleas; and (2) the court of appeals went beyond the narrow issue presented on appeal when it examined the merits of the case and determined that the language of the easements was ambiguous. View "Coder v. Ohio Edison Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied Relator's request for a writ of mandamus seeking to compel Respondent to permit him to inspect certain public records, holding that Relator failed to establish by clear and convincing evidence that he was entitled to a writ of mandamus.Relator, an inmate at the Toledo Correctional Institution, send a public-records request to Respondent, the warden's administrative assistant, asking to inspect two use-of-force reports and a review of a particular use-of-force incident. Respondent refused to permit Relator to inspect the requested records due to concerns over safety and security. Relator then brought this action. The Supreme Court denied relief, holding (1) where Relator did not refute the evidence that he presented a security risk, Relator did not establish his entitlement to a writ of mandamus; and (2) Relator was not entitled to statutory damages or court costs. View "State ex rel. McDougald v. Sehlmeyer" on Justia Law