Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law

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The Supreme Court denied writs of mandamus sought by Relators to compel the Mahoning County Board of Elections (BOE) and its individual members (collectively, Respondents) to certify Relators’ petitions to place two proposed amendments to the Youngstown City Charter on the November 2017 ballot: the People’s Bill of Rights for Fair Elections and Access to Local Government and the Youngstown Drinking Water Protection Bill of Rights. The BOE voted not to certify the amendments to appear on the ballot on the grounds that they exceeded the city’s initiative power. In denying the requested writs, the Supreme Court held that the BOE did not violate a clear legal duty when it refused to certify the petitions to place the proposed amendments on the ballot. View "State ex rel. Flak v. Betras" on Justia Law

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Under Ohio law, an employer may appeal a determination by the Industrial Commission that an employee has the right to participate in the workers’ compensation fund, and although the employer files the appeal in the common pleas court, the employee is the plaintiff. At issue was whether a provision enacted in 2006 allowing an employee to dismiss an employer-initiated appeal only with the consent of the employer is constitutional. The court of appeals in this case affirmed the trial court’s judgment declaring the so-called “consent provision” of Ohio Rev. Code 4123.512(D) unconstitutional. The trial court concluded that the consent provision was unconstitutional on the grounds of due process and equal protection and violates the doctrine of separation of powers. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the consent provision of section 4123.512(D) does not improperly conflict with the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure, nor does it violate the equal-protection or due-process guarantees of the federal and state Constitutions. View "Ferguson v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of the petition for a writ of mandamus that Appellant filed against Appellees, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and related parties. In his petition, Appellant alleged that he was denied “fair and meaningful consideration” of his parole application. Appellees filed a motion to dismiss, and a court of appeals magistrate recommended dismissal on the grounds that the petition failed to state a claim. The court of appeals granted the motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellant failed to establish that he was entitled to a writ of mandamus in this matter. View "State ex rel. Stith v. Department of Rehabilitation & Correction" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) that denied a tax exemption for real property leased to a community school. The tax commissioner determined that for tax years 2008 through 2010, because the property owner had collected “substantial market-rate rent,” the property was leased “with a view to profit” for purposes of former Ohio Rev. Code 5709.07(A)(1), and therefore, no exemption was available. The BTA affirmed on the basis that the school’s rental payments exceeded the lessor’s expenses under the lease. The Supreme Court vacated the BTA’s decision and remanded the case, holding (1) the key inquiry in determining whether property is lease with a view to profit focuses on the intention of the lessor; and (2) the BTA unreasonably ignored evidence of the lessor’s intent in this case. View "Breeze, Inc. v. Testa" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) affirming the tax commissioner’s denial of 2350 Morse LLC’s application for tax exemption of real property leased to a community school, holding that the BTA unreasonably ignored evidence of 2350 Morse’s intent in leasing the property. Morse sought an exemption for the property for tax year 2010 under both Ohio Rev. Code 5709.07 and 5709.121. The commissioner decided that 2350 Morse was not entitled to an exemption because the property had been leased “with a view to profit” for purposes of former section 5709.07(A)(1). The BTA affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that no reasonable reading of the record could support a finding that 2350 Morse leased the property with a view to profit. View "2350 Morse, LLC v. Testa" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) determining that a corporate executive’s supplemental executive retirement plan (SERP) was not subject to the city of Cleveland’s income tax. Upon retirement, the executive became entitled to receive benefits from the SERP, which was to be paid from an annuity over the court of his and his spouse’s lives. Cleveland sought to tax the present value of those future payments at the time of the retirement. The Supreme Court held that because a Cleveland ordinance exempts “pensions” from the city income tax and because the SERP constitutes a pension, the city income tax does not apply. View "MacDonald v. Cleveland Income Tax Board of Review" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA), which adopted $8,492,910 as the property value for a thirty-seven-acre parcel of real property for tax years 2011 through 2013. The BTA based its decision on the purchase price that Buckeye Terminals, LLC, the landowner, reported on a June 2011 conveyance fee statement. On appeal, Buckeye Terminals argued that the reported price did not accurately reflect the true value of the real property. The Supreme Court held that the BTA’s decision to retain the Board of Revision’s valuation for tax years 2011 through 2013, based solely on the June 2011 conveyance fee statement rather than an independent determination of the value of the property, was unreasonable and unlawful. View "Buckeye Terminals, LLC v. Franklin County Board of Revision" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) that adopted an allocated portion of a bulk-sale price as the property value for tax year 2011 for two parcels of property along the Ohio River. The owner of the property appealed, arguing that the BTA erred in not reducing the sale price by an amount that was contractually allocated to goodwill. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) the landowner’s burden was to show a proper sale-price allocation; (2) the BTA reasonably applied the evidentiary standard; (3) the BTA reasonably rejected the landowner’s appraisal; and (4) the landowner failed to state a constitutional claim. View "Cincinnati School District Board of Education v. Hamilton County Board of Revision" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) that valued the land underlying the North Bank Condominiums in Franklin County for tax year 2013. The BTA adopted the value found in an appraisal report submitted by the Columbus City Schools Board of Education (BOE). The unit owners appealed, arguing that the BTA should have adopted the land value in their appraisal report rather than the higher value in the BOE’s appraisal report. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the BTA did not abuse its discretion in finding the BOE’s appraisal to be more probative and in thus adopting the land value found in the BOE’s appraisal. View "NWD 300 Spring, LLC v. Franklin County Board of Revision" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court issued a writ of mandamus ordering the Industrial Commission to vacate its award to Employee of permanent-partial-disability compensation under Ohio Rev. Code 4123.57(A) and to issue an order denying the award, holding that, pursuant to State ex rel. Ohio Presbyterian Retirement Services, Inc. v. Industrial Commission (“Ohio Presbyterian I”), 79 N.E.3d 522 (Ohio 2016), when an injured employee is receiving permanent-total-disability compensation pursuant to Ohio Rev. Code 4123.58, the Commission is without statutory authority to grant in the same claim permanent-partial-disability compensation under section 4123.57(A). Employee in this case moved the court to reconsider its holding in Ohio Presbyterian I. The Supreme Court granted the motion, reopened the case for further consideration, and concluded that its holding in Ohio Presbyterian I was not made in error. Because the Commission granted Employee permanent-total-disability compensation and then permanent-partial-disability compensation in the same claim, the Supreme Court issued a writ of mandamus ordering the Commission to vacate its award of permanent-partial-disability compensation to Employee under section 4123.57(A) and to issue an order denying the award. View "State ex rel. Ohio Presbyterian Retirement Servs., Inc. v. Industrial Commission" on Justia Law