Articles Posted in Civil Procedure

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An employer does not face liability for the violation of a specific safety requirement (VSSR) when it lacked knowledge of a specific danger requiring a safety device. Employee suffered a head injury while working for Employer. The Industrial Commission awarded workers’ compensation benefits and granted an additional award to Employee based upon its finding that Employer had violated a specific safety requirement in failing to provide Employee with protective headgear. Employer filed a mandamus action in the court of appeals challenging the additional award. The court of appeals denied the writ, concluding that Employer had waived a central issue in its mandamus action by not raising it during proceedings before the Commission. The Supreme Court reversed and ordered a limited writ of mandamus ordering the Commission to determine whether Employer knew or should have known about the latent defect at the time that Employee was injured, holding (1) waiver did not apply in this case because the central issue raised in Employer’s mandamus action was not raised by the parties below; and (2) if Employer lacked the requisite knowledge of a design defect at the time of the injury, it cannot have violated a specific safety requirement. View "State ex rel. Camaco, LLC v. Albu" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was whether the law-of-the-case doctrine requires a court to apply the findings of a superior court in a criminal case to a civil case brought by the criminal defendant against individuals and entities who were not parties to the criminal case. The court held that the law-of-the-case doctrine does not require a court to follow a superior court’s decision in a prior appeal involving one of the parties but in the context of a different case. Rather, the law-of-the-case doctrine applies only to rulings in the same case. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals, which ruled that summary judgment was improper in this case because the law-of-the-case doctrine applied. The Supreme Court held that the appellate court’s holding was not a proper application of the law-of-the-case doctrine. View "Reid v. Cleveland Police Department" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals concluding that the common pleas court had jurisdiction over a motion to show cause. Appellant, an attorney, filed this action for a writ of prohibition arguing that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to hold a show cause hearing in a civil lawsuit. The court of appeals granted the motion to dismiss filed by the Tuscarawas County Court of Common Pleas and Judge Elizabeth Thomakos, holding that the trial court had jurisdiction over the contempt proceedings and that Appellant had an adequate remedy at law by way of appeal. The Supreme Court affirmed on appeal, holding that Appellant failed to establish the trial court’s lack of jurisdiction to rule on the contempt motion. View "State ex rel. Mancino v. Tuscarawas County Court of Common Pleas" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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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