Justia Arbitration & Mediation Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio
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The Supreme Court held that in order to compel arbitration against a union employee, the claim must have been clearly and unmistakably waived in arbitration provisions in the collective-bargaining agreement (CBA) governing the parties, and to be clear and unmistakeable the claim must be included either by statute or specific cause of action in the arbitration provisions of the CBA.Plaintiff brought this intentional employer tort action under Ohio Rev. Code 2745.01. The trial court denied Defendant's ensuing motion to stay the proceedings and to compel arbitration. The court of appeals affirmed, holding that because the parties' CBA made no mention of Ohio Rev. Code 2745.01 or intentional torts, Plaintiff had not waived his right to pursue such a claim in a judicial forum. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because Plaintiff's claim for an intentional tort was not mentioned in the CBA, Defendants did not clearly and unmistakably agree to prohibit resolution of the claim in court. View "Sinley v. Safety Controls Technology, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied as moot a writ of mandamus requested by Relator compelling the City of Toledo to provide him with copies of public records and to pay statutory damages under Ohio's Public Records Act, Ohio Rev. Code 149.43, holding that that writ was moot.Relator claimed that he sent a public-records request to the City's police department seeking certain records. When the request was denied Realtor commenced this action and requested statutory damages. Relator later moved to strike an affidavit and accompanying documents on the grounds that Toledo had not served him with the evidence. The Supreme Court denied the motion, holding (1) because Relator conceded that he had not received the records at issue, the writ was moot; and (2) because Relator did not prove by clear and convincing evidence that he sent his purported request by certified mail or any other method, his request for statutory damages is denied. View "State ex rel. Mobley v. Toledo" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that an action seeking a determination that an oil and gas lease has expired by its own terms is a controversy "involving the title to or the possession of real estate" so that the action is exempt from arbitration under Ohio Rev. Code 2711.01(B)(1).Appellants brought an action for declaratory judgment alleging that oil and gas leases between the parties had terminated because Appellee failed to produce oil or gas or to commence drilling operations within the terms of the lease. Appellee moved to stay pending arbitration. The trial court denied the request, concluding that Appellants' claims involved the title to or the possession of real property, and therefore, were exempt from arbitration under Ohio Rev. Code 2711.01(B)(1). The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding the trial court correctly declined to stay the action in this case pending arbitration. View "French v. Ascent Resources-Utica, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals determining that the confirmation of an arbitration award had been issued prematurely, holding that although Ohio Rev. Code 2711.13 imposes a three-month deadline for motions to vacate, modify, or correct arbitration awards, that period is a maximum time that is not guaranteed.At issue was whether section 2711.13 requires a trial court to wait three months before confirming an arbitration award when the party opposing confirmation informs the trial court that it intends to file a motion to vacate, modify, or correct under section 2711.10 or 2711.11. The Supreme Court held that section 2711.13 does not operate as an automatic stay on confirmation of an arbitration award but, rather, requires parties opposed to the confirmation to be diligent in seeking to vacate, modify, or correct it. View "BST Ohio Corp. v. Wolgang" 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 denying David Murray’s petition for a writ of mandamus challenging the State Employee Relations Board’s (SERB) dismissal of Murray’s unfair labor practice charges against the City of Columbus and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) as untimely, holding that the SERB did not abuse its discretion when it dismissed Murray’s unfair labor practice charges.After being fired from his job as a police officer, Murray sought to regain his employment through arbitration involving the City and his union, the FOP. Dissatisfied with the way the arbitration was handled, Murray brought two unfair labor practice charges against the City and the FOP. SERB dismissed all of the charges, concluding that they had been filed outside the ninety-day statute of limitations applicable to each charge. Murray then filed a petition for a writ of mandamus to compel that the charges be set for a hearing. The court of appeals denied the writ. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the SERB correctly dismissed the charges as untimely. View "State ex rel. Murray v. State Employment Relations Board" on Justia Law

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The Lorain County Board of Revision (BOR) had continuing-complaint jurisdiction to determine the value of a property for tax years 2012, 2013, and 2014 and therefore, the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) erred in refusing to exercise jurisdiction over tax year 2014.Appellant sought a reduction from the value determined by the Lorain County auditor for the three years at issue by asserting a continuing complaint. Appellant predicated its claim on its originally filed complaint, which had challenged the property valuation for tax year 2009. That complaint was finally determined in 2014. Appellant’s continuing complaint sought to apply the same value determined in that case to 2012, 2013, and 2014. The BOR retained the auditor’s valuation. The BTA adopted Appellant’s appraiser’s valuation of $750,000 for 2012 and 2013 but concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to determine the value for tax year 2014. Specifically, the BTA found that the BOR lacked jurisdiction over tax year 2014 because a proper complaint was not filed for that tax year. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the BOR had jurisdiction to determine the property’s value for tax years 2012, 2013, and 2014; and (2) an aggregate value of $750,000 shall be assigned to the property for all three tax years. View "Novita Industries, LLC v. Lorain County Board of Revision" on Justia Law

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The law of the case from the first appeal in this case was not relevant in the second appeal because, on remand from the first appeal, the trial court had relied on new evidence to decide that Nicholas Giancola had signed an arbitration agreement.Plaintiff brought this survival action and wrongful death action, claiming that Giancola’s death was caused by injuries that he sustained while he was at Walton Manor Health Care Center. Walton Manor moved to compel arbitration, arguing that Giancola had entered into a binding arbitration agreement with Walton Manor. The trial court ordered arbitration of the survival action, finding that Giancola’s mother had signed the arbitration agreement and that she had apparent authority to bind her son to its terms. The appellate court reversed. On remand, the trial court referred the appropriate counts to arbitration, concluding that Giancola had signed the arbitration agreement. The appellate court held that the trial court had violated the law-of-the-case doctrine when it reconsidered the issue of who had signed the arbitration agreement. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the law-of-the-case doctrine did not prevent the trial court on remand from considering new evidence as to whether Giancola signed the arbitration agreement. View "Giancola v. Azem" on Justia Law

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When reviewing a decision of a common pleas court confirming, modifying, vacating, or correcting an arbitration award, an appellate court should accept finding of fact that are not clearly erroneous but should decide questions of law de novo.The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Eleventh District Court of Appeals, which reversed the decision of the trial court vacating an arbitration award and reinstated the arbitration award, holding that the court of appeals conducted a proper de novo review of the trial court’s decision. Because the court of appeals’ judgment conflicted with judgments of the Eighth District and the Twelfth District, where the court of appeals concluded that the standard of review for an appellate court reviewing a trial court decision confirming or vacating an arbitration award is an abuse of discretion, the Supreme Court determined that a conflict existed and agreed to resolve the matter. View "Portage County Board of Developmental Disabilities v. Portage County. Educators' Association for Developmental Disabilities" 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