Justia Labor & Employment Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio
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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

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the court of appeals denying Appellant's request for a writ of mandamus ordering the Industrial Commission to vacate its order that terminated Appellant's permanent-total-disability (PTD) compensation and finding that Appellant had committed fraud while receiving PTD compensation, holding that the Commission abused its discretion in terminating Appellant's PTD compensation as of March 26, 2009. In denying Appellant's request, the court of appeals concluded that there was some evidence to support the Commission's finding that Appellant was engaged in sustained remunerative employment through activities he was performing at a raceway while receiving PTD compensation. On appeal, Defendant argued, among other things, that even if the activities he was engaged in could be construed as work, he was not working as of the effective date of the Commission's termination of his benefits. The Supreme Court agreed and remanded for an appropriate date of termination of Appellant's PTD compensation. In all other respects, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals. View "State ex rel. Seibert v. Richard Cyr, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the trial court's dismissal of Plaintiff's complaint alleging that his former employer wrongfully terminated him during his probationary period, holding that the civil-service statutes invoked by Plaintiff do not express a clear public policy providing the basis for a wrongful-discharge claim by a probationary employee. Plaintiff brought this complaint alleging that the Ohio Department of Veterans Services, at the direction of the governor's office, wrongfully terminated him during his probationary period. The trial court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Ohio Rev. Code 124. 27(B) and 124.56 do not express a clear public policy that provides the basis for a wrongful-discharge claim for civil service employees terminated during their probationary period, and therefore, the trial court correctly dismissed the complaint. View "Miracle v. Ohio Department of Veterans Services" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the trial court's judgment granting Plaintiff's motion to certify a class action, holding that when a class-certification case originates with a single named plaintiff and that plaintiff is not subject to an arbitration agreement that was entered into by unnamed putative class members, the defendant need not raise a specific argument referring or relating to arbitration in the defendant's answer. Plaintiff filed a class-action complaint against Defendant, his former employer. When Plaintiff moved to certify the case as a class action Defendant opposed the motion, asserting the defense of arbitration. The trial court granted the motion, concluding that Defendant waived any right of arbitration. The appellate court affirmed, determining that Defendant's failure to assert the arbitration defense in his answer or to seek to enforce the right to arbitration prior to its opposition to the certification was inconsistent with its right to assert the defense. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) because arbitration was not available as a defense at the time Defendant submitted its answer, Defendant could not waive a right to assert arbitration at that time; and (2) Defendant had no duty to raise an argument that Plaintiff failed to satisfy Civ.R. 23(A)'s typicality and adequacy requirements. View "Gembarski v. PartsSource, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals concluding that the Industrial Commission did not abuse its discretion when it found that Alfredo Pacheco was medically able to perform light-duty work offered by his employer, Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) but reversed the conclusion that Alcoa did not make the light-duty job offer in good faith, holding that the court of appeals should not have determined whether the job was offered in good faith. Pacheco sustained an injury while working for Alcoa and received temporary total disability (TTD) compensation for approximately one year. Thereafter, Alcoa offered Pacheco light-duty employment. Pacheco accepted the offer and worked in the light-duty position for three weeks. Pacheco then submitted a renewed request for TTD compensation, which Alcoa denied. The Commission denied the request for TTD compensation based on a finding that the light-duty job was within Pacheco's medical restrictions. The court of appeals concluded that the evidence supported the Commission's finding but also concluded that the job offered by Alcoa was not offered in good faith. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that where the Commission did not address the question of whether the light-duty job offer was made in good faith, the court of appeals should not have made that determination. View "State ex rel. Pacheco v. Industrial Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals ordering the Industrial Commission of Ohio to vacate its order denying the request of Joshua Pilarczyk for permanent total disability (PTD) compensation, holding that the court of appeals erred in relying on the report of Dr. Kenneth Gruenfeld in making its decision. Dr. Gruenfeld undertook an independent psychological evaluation of Pilarczyk at the request of the Bureau of Workers' Compensation and then issued a report stating that Pilarczyk was likely able to perform sustained remunerative employment despite his psychological disability. The Commission denied Pilarczyk's request for PTD compensation based in part on Dr. Gruenfeld's report. The court of appeals concluded that the Commission abused its discretion by denying PTD compensation based on Dr. Gruenfeld's report and issued a writ of mandamus ordering the Commission to vacate its order denying PTD compensation. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Dr. Gruenfeld's report was equivocal and ambiguous, and therefore, it did not constitute "some evidence" in support of the Commission's determination that Pilarczyk could engage in sustained remunerative employment. View "State ex rel. Pilarczyk v. Geauga County" on Justia Law

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In this original action, the Supreme Court granted the City of Cleveland's request for a peremptory writ of prohibition against Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge Nancy M. Russo and ordered Judge Russo to vacate the orders that she previously entered in Ass'n of Cleveland Fire Fighters, Local 93 v. Cleveland, Cuyahoga C.P. No. CV-19-190679, and to cease exercising jurisdiction over that case, holding that the relief the Union was seeking fell within the exclusive jurisdiction of the State Employment Relations Board (SERB). The International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 93 (the Union) filed an unfair-labor-practice charge with SERB, alleging that Cleveland's fire chief's decision to change fire fighters' 24-hour shift start times were unfair labor practices. The Union then filed a complaint for a declaratory judgment, a temporary restraining order, and injunctive relief in the common pleas court against the City of Cleveland and its fire chief, alleging that the chief's shift-time order violated Ohio Rev. Code 4117.08 because it involved a matter subject to collective bargaining. Judge Russo denied Defendants' motion to dismiss for subject matter jurisdiction. The Supreme Court granted the City's request for a writ of prohibition, holding that the Union failed to assert any claims that fell outside the scope of the collective-bargaining rights created by Chapter 4117. View "State ex rel. Cleveland v. Russo" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals denying Appellant's request for a writ of mandamus against the State Highway Patrol Retirement System (HPRS), holding that Appellant was not entitled to an order compelling HPRS to vacate its finding that his disability was "not in the line of duty" and to grant disability retirement "in the line of duty." Appellant, a state trooper, applied to HPRS for permanent and total disability retirement benefits based on the diagnosis of an L5-S1 disk collapse and right-side disc bulge, as well as disintegration of L5-S1 vertebrae and arthritis. HPRS approved Appellant's disability but concluded that Appellant's condition did not occur in the line of duty. Appellant filed a complaint for a writ of mandamus, but the court of appeals denied the request. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellant failed to show that HPRS abused its discretion when it found that Appellant's injury did not occur in the line of duty. View "State ex rel. Seabolt v. State Highway Patrol Retirement System" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals granting a writ of mandamus compelling the Ohio Public Employees Retirement Board (the OPERS board) to grant Appellee membership status and service credit in the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and denied the writ, holding that there was "some evidence" to support the OPERS board's conclusion that Appellee was an independent contractor rather than a contract employee. The OPERS board found that Appellee was an independent contract under Ohio Adm.Code 145-1-42. The court of appeals granted Appellee a writ of mandamus, concluding that the OPERS board abused its discretion in finding that Appellee was an independent contractor. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the language of Appellee's contract, the fact that he was required to submit invoices in order to be paid for his work, and his ineligibility for benefits that were available to contract employees satisfied the "some evidence" standard supporting the conclusion that Appellee was an independent contractor. View "State ex rel. Sales v. Ohio Public Employees Retirement Board" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Tenth District Court of Appeals granting Sharon Vonderheide's petition for a writ of mandamus and ordering the Industrial Commission to vacate its decision denying Vonderheide's request for temporary total disability (TTD) compensation, holding that "some evidence" supported the Commission's decision. The Commission denied Vonderheide's request for TTD compensation after she had surgery on her right knee, finding that Vonderheide failed to establish that she was in the workforce and had wages to replace as of the date of her surgery. The court of appeals granted Vonderheide's mandamus petition, holding that the Commission's decision was an abuse of discretion because it was not based on "some evidence." The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the court of appeals erred by disregarding the directive that an order that is supported by "some evidence" will be upheld; and (2) Vonderheide did not show a need for oral argument. View "State ex rel. Vonderheide v. Multi-Color Corp." on Justia Law