Justia Professional Malpractice & Ethics Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio
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The Supreme Court of Ohio denied a request from Jeryne Peterson, the mayor of Buckeye Lake, for writs of prohibition and mandamus against the Licking County Board of Elections and its members, the Fairfield County Board of Elections and its members, and the village of Buckeye Lake and its council president, Linda Goodman. Peterson was seeking to prevent a scheduled recall election from taking place.The court found that Peterson failed to show that she was entitled to a writ of prohibition preventing the village from setting the recall-election date or preventing the respondent boards of elections from conducting that election. She also failed to show that she was entitled to a writ of mandamus ordering the respondent boards of elections to remove the recall election from the ballot. The court also denied Peterson’s motion to disqualify the village’s attorney. View "State ex rel. Peterson v. Licking County Board of Elections" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed Relator Mark Repp's quo warranto claim he sought to oust Rhonda Best from judicial office and to declare him the rightful holder of the office and dismissed all other claims sua sponte, holding that Repp was not entitled to relief.In 2019, Repp was elected to a six-year term as judge of a municipal court. Less than two years into his term, the Supreme Court found that Repp had engaged in professional misconduct and suspended him for one year from the practice of law. Because Repp failed to perform his official duties for more than six months, the judicial office he held was declared vacant, and Governor Mike DeWine appointed Best to fill the vacancy. After Repp was reinstated to the practice of law he filed this original action seeking a writ of quo warranto to oust Best from officer and also sought a writ of prohibition, declaratory judgment, and injunctive relief. The Supreme Court denied all forms of relief, holding (1) if a judge is absent from his official duties for at least six months, the appropriate legislative authority is allow to declare the judicial office vacant under Ohio Rev. Code 1901.10(B); and (2) Repp's remaining requests either failed to state a claim, or this Court lacked jurisdiction over his claims. View "State ex rel. Repp v. Best" on Justia Law

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In this case involving a dispute about a statute that sets forth the requirements a firm must meet to provide engineering services in the state of Ohio the Supreme Court held that there is nothing in the statutory language of Ohio Rev. Code 4733.16(D) to preclude an independent contractor from serving as a full-time manager of an engineering firm.Section 4733.16(D) provides that an engineering firm must designate one or more full-time partners, managers, members, officers, or directors as in "responsible charge" of its engineering activities. The Ohio Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Surveyors denied TWISM Enterprises, LLC a certificate of authorization to provide engineering services, adopting a hardline rule that section 4733.16(D) requires formal W-2 employment. The court of appeals upheld the determination. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that TWISM met the requirements for a certificate of authorization to practice engineering. View "TWISM Enterprises, LLC v. State Bd. of Registration for Professional Engineers & Surveyors" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that a negligent credentialing is a separate and independent claim from medical negligence but that a negligent credentialing claim cannot proceed without either a simultaneous or prior adjudication of or stipulation to medical negligence.At issue was whether a hospital's grant of staff privileges to a physician, otherwise known as credentialing a physician, confers a duty upon the hospital that is separate and independent of the duty the physical owes to the hospital's patients. If so, the question remained whether a patient's negligent credentialing claim can proceed in the absence of a prior adjudication or stipulation that the physician was negligent in his care of the patient. The trial court in this case granted the hospital's motion for summary judgment on the negligent credentialing claim. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) a negligent credentialing claim cannot proceed without either a simultaneous or prior adjudication of or stipulation that a doctor committed medical malpractice; and (2) because such an adjudication or stipulation was not present in this case, the negligent credentialing claim was properly dismissed. View "Walling v. Brenya" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming Defendant's conviction of disclosing confidential information in violation of Ohio Rev. Code 102.03(B), holding that a person who is subject to the jurisdiction of the Ohio Ethics Commission (Commission) may be criminally prosecuted for a violation of section 102.03(B) without the Commission first investigating or prosecuting the charge.Defendant, a sheriff, was found guilty of violating section 102.03(B), a provision of Ohio's ethics law, for posting confidential information on the website of the sheriff's office. At issue on appeal was whether a criminal prosecution may be brought alleging a violation of section 102.03(B) without a prior review of the charges by the Commission. The court of appeals held that the trial court properly refused to dismiss the charges against Defendant on these grounds. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that prosecutions may be brought by a prosecuting authority before the Commission initiates or completes its investigation. View "State v. Towns" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals concluding that statements made by a medical doctor during a medical board investigation were inadmissible in a subsequent criminal prosecution of that doctor, holding that the trial court properly admitted incriminating answers given by the doctor during the investigation.Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) a medical license is a property right, and the threatened loss of the license is a form of coercion that can compromise the defendant's Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination; (2) in order for coercion to be sufficient to warrant the suppression of statements made during a medical board investigative review, the coercion must be both subjectively believed and objectively reasonable; and (3) competent, credible evidence supported the trial court's factual finding that the doctor did not objectively believe that a refusal truthfully to answer questions posed by the medical board investigator could lead to the loss of the doctor's medical license. View "State v. Gideon" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals denying a writ of mandamus ordering the Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing to convene an informal mediation meeting on a complaint, holding that Appellant had no clear legal right to a mediation meeting.A third party filed a complaint with the Division against Appellant, alleging that Appellant had falsified information on a mortgage application. The Division notified Appellant that he was the subject of the complaint. Appellant sent a letter containing a mediation request, but the Division failed to schedule a mediation meeting. Appellant then filed a complaint in the court of appeals seeking a writ of mandamus to compel the Division to schedule the meeting. The court of appeals denied the writ. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellant had no clear legal right to a mediation meeting, and the Division had no clear duty to hold one because Appellant's letter was incontestably untimely. View "State ex rel. Figueroa v. Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing" on Justia Law

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The issue this case presented for the Ohio Supreme Court centered on whether whether oil-and-gas land professionals, who help obtain oil-and-gas leases for oil-and-gas-development companies, must be licensed real-estate brokers when they engage in the activities described in R.C. 4735.01(A) with respect to oil-and-gas leases. Specifically, the Court addressed address whether R.C. 4735.21 precluded a person not a licensed real-estate broker from bringing a cause of action to recover compensation allegedly owed for negotiating oil-and-gas leases. The Court concluded the plain language of R.C. 4735.01 did not exclude oil-and-gas land professionals or oil-and-gas leases from the relevant definitions set forth in the statute; appellants Thomas Dundics and his company, IBIS Land Group, Ltd., engaged in activities that required a real-estate-broker’s license and were precluded from bringing a cause of action to recover compensation for those activities. View "Dundics v. Eric Petroleum Corp." on Justia Law

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The delayed damage rule, which modifies the general rule for when a cause of action accrues, did not apply to this cause of action alleging negligence related to the procuring of a professional-liability insurance policy.The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and reinstated the trial court’s judgment dismissing the complaint filed by Appellee as untimely, holding (1) the delayed-damage rule does not apply to a cause of action alleging negligent procurement of a professional-liability insurance policy or negligent misrepresentation of the terms of the policy when the policy contains a provision specifically excluding the type of claim that the insured alleges it believed was covered by the policy; (2) the cause of action in such a case accrues on the date the policy is issued; and (3) therefore, the complaint filed by Appellee in this case was untimely. View "LGR Realty, Inc. v. Frank & London Insurance Agency" on Justia Law

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The delayed damage rule, which modifies the general rule for when a cause of action accrues, did not apply to this cause of action alleging negligence related to the procuring of a professional-liability insurance policy.The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and reinstated the trial court’s judgment dismissing the complaint filed by Appellee as untimely, holding (1) the delayed-damage rule does not apply to a cause of action alleging negligent procurement of a professional-liability insurance policy or negligent misrepresentation of the terms of the policy when the policy contains a provision specifically excluding the type of claim that the insured alleges it believed was covered by the policy; (2) the cause of action in such a case accrues on the date the policy is issued; and (3) therefore, the complaint filed by Appellee in this case was untimely. View "LGR Realty, Inc. v. Frank & London Insurance Agency" on Justia Law