Justia Labor & Employment Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio
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The Supreme Court of Ohio affirmed the decision of the lower court, granting a writ of mandamus to Cassens Corp., a self-insuring employer, against the Industrial Commission of Ohio. The case involved an employee, Luis Ybarra, who was injured on the job when he was struck by a vehicle driven by a coworker who had failed to clear the snow and ice from the windshield. The Commission had found that Cassens Corp. violated a specific safety requirement (VSSR) and granted an application for an additional workers' compensation award. Cassens Corp. sought a writ of mandamus to compel the Commission to vacate its order. The Supreme Court of Ohio held that the Commission erred in finding that the outdoor yard where Ybarra was injured constituted a "workshop" under the applicable administrative code. Therefore, the company could not have committed a VSSR under the code. As a result, Cassens Corp. was entitled to a writ of mandamus ordering the Commission to vacate its decision and refund all additional compensation paid by Cassens Corp. in accordance with the Commission's order. View "State ex rel. Cassens Corp. v. Indus. Comm." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals denying Appellant's complaint for a writ of mandamus requiring the Industrial Commission of Ohio to award him a scheduled award of permanent partial disability (PPD) compensation under Ohio Rev. Code 4123.57(B) for the loss of the use of his right hand, holding that the court of appeals correctly denied the writ.Appellant was injured during the course of his employment as a laborer when he fell from a roof onto concrete below. A district hearing officer granted Appellant's request for scheduled-loss compensation, but a staff hearing officer vacated that order on appeal. The court of appeals denied Appellant's ensuing complaint for a writ of mandamus. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that some evidence supported the commission's decision denying Appellant's request for compensation for the loss of the use of his right hand, and the commission did not abuse its discretion. View "State ex rel. Block v. Industrial Commission of Ohio" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals issuing a limited writ of mandamus and ordering the Industrial Commission of Ohio to determine Appellee's appropriate pre-injury visual baseline and to apply that baseline to his request for compensation, holding that the Commission has discretion to use a claimant's vision as corrected by a hard contact lens as the claimant's pre-injury visual baseline.Appellee sustained an industrial injury to his right eye and underwent three surgical procedures to address the conditions allowed under his workers' compensation claim. Appellee then sought scheduled-loss compensation under Ohio Rev. Code 4123.57. After staff hearing officer denied Appellee's request Appellee filed a mandamus action arguing that the Commission had abused its discretion. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the writ was appropriate to determine Appellee's pre-injury visual baseline and to then use that baseline to determine whether the medical evidence supports an award for total loss of sight under Ohio Rev. Code 4123.57(B). View "State ex rel. Cogan v. Industrial Comm'n of Ohio" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals concluding that the Industrial Commission of Ohio did not abuse its discretion in denying Appellant's request for a violation of specific safety requirements (VSSR) award, holding that there was no error.Appellant suffered a work-related hand injury while working for Employer and requested an award in addition to her workers' compensation benefits, alleging that her injury was a result of Employer's VSSR violation. The Commission found that Appellant did not commit a VSSR and denied the request for an additional award. The Supreme Court affirmed and denied Appellant's motion for an oral argument, holding that some evidence in the record supported the Commission's decision. View "State ex rel. Levitin v. Industrial Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals granting in part and denying in part a writ of mandamus, affirmed the court's award of statutory damages and court costs, and reversed the award of attorney fees, holding that the court of appeals erred in determining that the City of Cleveland acted in bad faith in this case.Cleveland Association of Rescue Employees and its president (collectively, the Union) submitted two public records requests to the City, which denied the requests. The Union then filed a complaint for writ of mandamus to compel production of the records and also sought statutory damages and attorney fees for the City's alleged violation of Ohio Rev. Code 149.43(B). The Union later notified the court of appeals that the City had sufficiently produced the requested records and sought summary judgment with respect to statutory damages and attorney fees. The court of appeals awarded the Union statutory damages of $1,000 and attorney fees of $4,672. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that the City's refusal to accept a certified-mail service of the complaint was not a legitimate basis on which to award attorney fees. View "State ex rel. Cleveland Ass'n of Rescue Employees v. City of Cleveland" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals denying the writ of mandamus sought by Stephen Harris to order the Industrial Commission of Ohio to reverse its decision denying Harris's request for scheduled-loss compensation for the permanent partial loss of sight of both eyes, holding that there were no grounds for the writ.After the Commission denied Harris's request for scheduled-loss compensation a district hearing officer determined that the medical evidence failed to establish that Harris had sustained any loss of vision in either eye as a result of the industrial injury. Harris filed a mandamus action requesting an order directing the Commission to reverse its decision. The court of appeals denied the writ. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that some evidence existed to support the Commission's decision. View "State ex rel. Harris v. Industrial Comm'n" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court declined to issue a writ of prohibition sought by Youngstown Civil Service Commission, the City of Youngstown and Youngstown Mayor Jamael Tito Brown (collectively, Youngstown) to prevent Mahoning County Court of Common Pleas Judge Maureen Sweeney from exercising jurisdiction over an administrative appeal commenced by Michael Cox and to require her to vacate all orders issued in the appeal, holding that Youngstown was not entitled to the writ.Youngstown commenced this action seeking a writ of prohibition prohibiting Judge Sweeney from exercising any judicial authority over the underlying action and vacating all orders and journal entires issued in that case. As grounds for the writ, Youngstown argued that Judge Sweeney patently and unambiguously lacked jurisdiction over it because the pending underlying action was an untimely administrative appeal. The Supreme Court denied the writ, holding that Judge Sweeney did not patently and unambiguously lack jurisdiction over the matter at issue. View "State ex rel. Youngstown Civil Service Commission v. Sweeney" on Justia Law

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In this employment action, the Supreme Court held that under the plain language of Ohio Rev. Code 124.48, a "vacancy" occurs for competitive promotional examination purposes when the incumbent in the promoted-rank position in the fire department retires and therefore the position must be filled through the process set forth in section 124.48.Specifically at issue was whether a position is rendered vacant for purposes of section 148.48 when the incumbent in that position retires but is rehired for the same position the next day. The court of appeals concluded that the retirement in question did not create a vacancy. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that whether an incumbent intends to permanently leave a position or to leave with the expectation of immediately returning to that position is irrelevant to the determination of whether the incumbent's leaving creates a vacancy under the terms of section 149.48. View "State ex rel. Int'l Ass'n of Fire Fighters, Local 1536, AFL-CIO v. Sakacs" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Tenth District Court of Appeals granting Donna Kidd's request for a writ of mandamus ordering the Industrial Commission of Ohio to vacate its order denying Kidd's application for permanent-total-disability (PTD) compensation, holding that the Commission did not abuse its discretion in denying Kidd's application for PTD compensation.In denying Kidd's application for PTD compensation the commission concluded that Kidd was capable of sustained remunerative employment at a sedentary level. The Tenth District granted Kidd's request for a writ of mandamus, concluding that the Commission exceeded its discretion by relying on a medical report that outlined limitations on Kidd's capabilities that were "seemingly inconsistent" with the definition of "sedentary work" in Ohio Adm.Code 4121-3-34(B)(2)(a). The Supreme Court reversed and denied the writ, holding that the commission did not abuse its discretion by considering "prevalent workplace accommodations to determine whether Kidd could return to 'sustained remunerative employment' with her medical restrictions." View "State ex rel. Kidd v. Industrial Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals dismissing Appellant's complaint for a writ of mandamus against Youngstown Mayo Jamael Tito Brown, Youngstown Fire Chief Barry Finley, and Youngstown Finance Director Kyle Miasek (collectively, the officials), holding that Appellant had a remedy in the ordinary course of the law.Appellant, a captain in Youngstown's fire department, and his union filed a grievance against the city alleging that he city had violated the parties' collective bargaining agreement (CBA) by not timely promoting him to battalion chief. The grievance was denied, and the union did not seek further relief. Appellant brought this complaint. The court of appeals dismissed the complaint on the grounds that Appellant had an adequate remedy at law. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the court of appeals correctly concluded that Appellant had an adequate remedy in the ordinary course of the law. View "State ex rel. Casey v. Brown" on Justia Law