Justia Class Action Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio
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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the trial court's class certification order and vacated the class certification order, holding that Ohio Rev. Code 124.34 does not authorize civil service employees to file a civil action in common pleas court to address an alleged reduction in pay in violation of section 124.34.Appellees and other named class representatives filed two consolidated class action lawsuits against Cuyahoga County seeking damages and a declaratory judgment that the county reduced their compensation, in violation of section 124.34. The trial court certified a class. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) section 124.34 does not authorize civil service employees to file a civil action in common pleas court for an alleged reduction in pay in violation of the statute; and (2) because Appellees' complaints did not state a cause of action for which relief may be granted, the trial court erred in certifying a class based on those claims. View "Binder v. Cuyahoga County" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals concluding that Plaintiff had opted out of a class-action settlement that was approved in Seifi v. Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC, holding that McAdams's status as a member of the Seifi class was determined in that case, and therefore, McAdams's claim in this case was barred by res judicata.While the Seifi class action was pending, McAdams filed a complaint against Mercedez-Benz USA, Mercedez-Benz Easton, and Mercedes-Benz of New Rochelle, alleging claims relating to issues with the balance-shaft gear and the transmission conductor plate of her Mercedes. After the judgment in the Seifi class action was issued, the trial court determined that McAdams was bound by the Seifi class action settlement because she had not formally opted out of the class action, and therefore, her balance-shaft-gear claim was barred by res judicata. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that McAdams had opted out of the Seifi class-action settlement. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that McAdams's claim that she had not opted out of the class action was barred by res judicata because the federal court determined who had opted out in its entry adopting the Seifi class-action settlement. View "McAdams v. Mercedes-Benz, USA, LLC" on Justia Law

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In this class action, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the common pleas court's decision to certify the class, holding that the common pleas court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the class action for the named and prospective class plaintiffs whose claims for recovery fell within the express language of Ohio Rev. Code 5160.37.The class action sought a declaratory judgment that former Ohio Rev. Code 5101.58 relating to Medicaid reimbursements is unconstitutional. The action further sought to recover all sums paid to the Ohio Department of Medicaid (Department) under section 5101.58. Plaintiff moved to certify as a class all persons who paid any amount to the Department pursuant to the statute from April 6, 2007 to the present. The trial court certified the class. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) section 5160.37 now provides the sole remedy for Medicaid program participants to recover excessive reimbursement payments made to the Department on or after September 29, 2007; and (2) therefore, the common pleas court lacked jurisdiction over the claims asserted by Plaintiffs. View "Pivonka v. Corcoran" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals holding that Ohio Rev. Code 1308.16(A) allows a purchaser of a bond to assert a breach-of-contract claim that accrued before the bondholder's purchase because the purchaser acquired the rights of one who held the bond when the breach allegedly occurred, holding that absent a valid assignment of a right to bring a cause of action, the sale of a municipal bond does not automatically vest in the purchaser.This breach-of-contract case came to the Supreme Court on appeal from a judgment finding that the court of common pleas erred by refusing to certify a class action on grounds that the class lacked commonality. Plaintiff asked the trial court to certify a class of bondholders. The trial court concluded that commonality had not been established because each class member would allege a different time and purchase price as the basis for a breach and thus would have different potential damages. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that absent a valid assignment of claims, the sale of a municipal bond does not automatically vest in the buyer all claims and causes of action of the seller relating to the bond that arose before the transaction. View "Paul Cheatham I.R.A. v. Huntington National Bank" 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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Steve Maddox and eight other named relators (collectively, Maddox) brought this original action in mandamus against the village of Lincoln Heights and several of the village’s officials (collectively, the village). Maddox alleged that several classes of people who work for or have worked for the village had not been provided employee benefits owed to them and requested a writ directing the village to provide the withheld benefits. The parties filed a joint motion for preliminary approval of a class action settlement consisting of money payments to class members. The Supreme Court referred the case to mediation, with instructions for the parties to attempt an out-of-court settlement without court approval, holding that the Court lacked jurisdiction to preside over this monetary settlement because no class had yet been certified and nothing prevented the parties from settling the case without the approval of the Court. View "State ex rel. Maddox v. Village of Lincoln Heights" on Justia Law

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A circuit court in Boone County, Kentucky entered a multimillion dollar judgment against Stanley Chesley, a former attorney, for his conduct in a class action lawsuit that eventually settled. Chesley filed suit in Ohio state court seeking an injunction to prevent Respondents from collecting on the judgment and to relitigate the case. The Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Ruehlman acted outside its jurisdiction to repeatedly shield Chesley and his assets from creditors. Relator Angela Ford filed a petition for a writ of prohibition to preclude Judge Ruehlman from continuing to exercise jurisdiction over the Hamilton County case. The Supreme Court granted a peremptory writ of prohibition and ordered the judge to vacate his orders, holding that Judge Ruehlman had no statutory authority to grant relief in this case. View "State ex rel. Ford v. Ruehlman" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a class action complaint alleging that Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) failed timely to record in the appropriate county recorder’s office the satisfaction of her residential mortgage within ninety days after payoff, as required by Ohio Rev. Code 5301.36(B). After the class was certified, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued a cease-and-desist order (consent order) to Fannie Mae. Fannie Mae moved to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The trial court dismissed the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the FHFA consent order did not divest the trial court of jurisdiction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the consent order did not preclude the trial court from exercising jurisdiction under 12 U.S.C. 4635(b), the federal statute governing judicial review of FHFA orders; but (2) 12 U.S.C. 4617(j)(4) barred the trial court from ordering Fannie Mae to pay damages under section 5301.36(C) while Fannie Mae is under FHFA’s conservatorship. View "Radatz v. Fed. Nat’l Mortgage Ass’n" on Justia Law

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Named Plaintiffs filed an amended class-action complaint challenging the city of Cleveland’s imposition of fines against vehicle lessees. The trial court granted Cleveland’s motion for judgment on the pleadings, concluding that Plaintiffs had waived the right to pursue judicial remedies by paying their fines and failing to appeal their citations. The trial court also denied Plaintiffs’ class-certification motion. The court of appeals reversed and remanded. On remand, the trial court granted partial summary judgment for Plaintiffs. The court also granted class certification. Cleveland appealed the class certification order, arguing that res judicata precluded class relief. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that Plaintiffs’ failure to appeal their traffic violations through Cleveland’s administrative process did not bar them from pursuing equitable and declaratory relief in the trial court. The Supreme Court vacated in part the judgment of the court of appeals, holding that the court of appeals erred in deciding that res judicata barred Plaintiffs’ claims, in the absence of a final, appealable order from the trial court addressing that question. Remanded. View "Lycan v. Cleveland" on Justia Law