Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio

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The Supreme Court denied the writ of mandamus sought by Kurt Singer to, among other things, compel Fairland Local School District Board of Education (Fairland) to recognize him as a “regular nonteaching school employee” under Ohio Rev. Code 3319.081 with continuing-contract status. Singer worked for Fairland as a substitute custodian without signing a written employment contract with Fairland. Singer alleged that Fairland wrongly designated him as a “substitute,” and consequently, he had been paid less than a full-time custodian, lost health benefits and some pension benefits, and had been deprived of certain paid leave. Singer requested a writ of mandamus directing Fairland to recognize him as a regular nonteaching employe with a continuing contract and ordering Fairland to make him whole by awarding him back wages and benefits and crediting him with paid leave and other accrued rights. The Supreme Court denied the writ, holding that Singer was not entitled to continuing status because he failed to establish that he was a “regular nonteaching employee” under section 3319.081. View "State ex rel. Singer v. Fairland Local School District Board of Education" 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 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

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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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Appellant failed to disclose his sealed criminal conviction on an application for employment and on applications to renew his registration as an adult-services worker with the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. Consequently, Appellant’s employment was terminated by the Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities. The court of appeals affirmed Appellant’s termination. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the questions on the registration applications that explicitly required disclosure of sealed convictions did not violate Ohio Rev. Code 2953.33(B) because the questions bore a direct and substantial relationship to Appellant’s position and to his qualifications for registration; and (2) Appellant was not excused from answering those questions. View "Gyugo v. Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals granting a limited writ of mandamus and ordering the Ohio Highway Patrol Retirement System Board and Ohio Highway Patrol Retirement System (collectively, the Board) to conduct a “physical-capacity evaluation” of Appellee. The Board originally approved Appellee’s disability retirement application but later terminated Appellee’s disability-retirement benefits based on evidence that Appellee was fully recovered and no longer disabled. Appellee appealed, submitting new evidence and a recommendation that Appellee receive a physical-capacity evaluation. The Board upheld its prior decision to terminate disability-retirement benefits without referring Appellee for a physical-capacity evaluation. The court of appeals granted a limited writ of mandamus ordering the Board to conduct the physical-capacity evaluation. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Board’s decision was based upon sufficient medical evidence and that the Board had no legal duty to conduct a physical-capacity evaluation before terminating Appellee’s disability benefits. View "State ex rel. Burroughs v. Ohio Highway Patrol Retirement System Board" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals that granted a limited writ of mandamus ordering the Industrial Commission to amend its order awarding permanent-total-disability compensation to adjust the start date of the benefits awarded to Terry Phillips. Phillips suffered a workplace injury in 2011. In 2013, Phillips applied for permanent-total-disability compensation. After a hearing, a staff hearing officer concluded that Phillips was permanently and totally disabled based on the reports of Dr. Amol Soin, Dr. Steven Rosen, and Dr. Norman Berg. R&L Carriers Shared Services, LLC filed a complaint in mandamus arguing that the Commission’s order was not supported by the evidence. The magistrate recommended that the court of appeals issue a writ of mandamus ordering the Commission to amend its order to eliminate from consideration the reports of Dr. Soin and Dr. Rosen and to adjust the start date of the award to coincide with the date of Dr. Berg’s report. The court of appeals adopted the magistrate’s decision. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that R&L failed to demonstrate that the Commission abused its discretion by entering an order not supported by some evidence in the record. View "State ex rel. R&L Carriers Shared Services, LLC v. Industrial Commission of Ohio" on Justia Law

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An Industrial Commission order determining that a preexisting condition that was substantially aggravated by a workplace injury has returned to a level that would have existed absent the jury is not appealable to a court of common pleas under Ohio Rev. Code 4123.512(A). Appellee suffered a workplace injury. Appellee’s claim for workers’ compensation was allowed for multiple conditions. The Bureau of Worker’s Compensation later moved to abate Appellee’s claim for substantial aggravated of preexisting dermatomyositis, asserting that Appellee’s dermatomyositis had returned to a level that would have existed without her workplace injury. A hearing officer granted the Bureau’s motion and ordered that compensation and medical benefits were no longer to be paid for the allowed condition. Appellee appealed. The trial court dismissed Appellee’s appeal for lack of jurisdiction, concluding that medical abatement of one condition of a claim is an extent-of-disability issue that cannot be appealed to a common pleas court under section 4123.512(A). The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the order was appealable to the court of common pleas. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that such a decision is not appealable under section 4123.512. Instead, a challenge to the Commission’s final decision regarding the extent of disability is properly made by an action in mandamus. View "Clendenin v. Girl Scouts of Western Ohio" on Justia Law

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Any limitation on an arbitrator’s authority to modify a disciplinary action pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) provision requiring that discipline be imposed only for just cause must be specifically bargained for by the parties and incorporated into the CBA. The common pleas court in this case vacated an arbitration award that changed the disciplinary sanction recommended by the chief of police against Sergeant David Hill of the Findlay Police Department from termination to a length suspension. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that the arbitration award did not draw its essence from the CBA between the city of Findlay and the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and was arbitrary, capricious, and unlawful. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) because the CBA placed no limitation on the arbitrator’s authority to review the disciplinary action imposed and fashion a remedy, the arbitrator acted within his authority; and (2) the arbitrator’s award drew its essence from the CBA and was not arbitrary, capricious, or unlawful. View "Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Ass’n v. City of Findlay" on Justia Law

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The court of appeals properly concluded that the evidence supported the decision of the Industrial Commission that Appellant was not eligible for benefits because he had voluntarily abandoned the workforce for reasons unrelated to his workplace injury. Appellant, who was injured in the course and scope of his employment, filed a complaint in the court of appeals asking the court to issue a writ of mandamus compelling the Commission to find that he was eligible for permanent total disability benefits. The court of appeals denied the writ. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Commission’s order was supported by evidence in the record, and the court of appeals did not err in determining that the Commission did not abuse its discretion and that mandamus was inappropriate. View "State ex rel. McKee v. Union Metal Corp." on Justia Law