Justia Business Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio
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In this case involving the proper scope of the litigation privilege in Ohio the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the trial court granting judgment on the pleadings concluding that certain actions of the Certified Steel Stud Association's directors were protected by the litigation privilege, holding that judgment on the pleadings was inappropriate.ClarkDietrich previously sued the Association alleging that the Association made defamatory statements about ClarkDietrich's products. William Gardner and Edward Slish (together, Appellees) were members of the Association's board of directors at that time. The jury returned a verdict in favor of ClarkDietrich. John Reister, who was subsequently appointed as a receiver on behalf of the Association, filed this action claiming that Appellees breached their fiduciary duties by mishandling the ClarkDietrich litigation. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that Appellees' actions were protected under the litigation privilege rule. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the litigation privilege protects statements, not actions; and (2) the decision to grant judgment on the pleadings was improper in this case. View "Reister v. Gardner" on Justia Law

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In this appeal concerning the trial court's award of $3,983,014 in attorney fees the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the award of attorney fees, holding that the "lodestar" reflected a reasonable fee based on the prevailing market rate for the services rendered by Appellees' attorneys, and therefore, the trial court's enhancement to the lodestar was in error.Appellees were awarded a jury verdict against Appellant for compensatory and punitive damages, treble damages, prejudgment interest, and litigation costs and expenses. In determining attorney fees, the trial court established a lodestar - the reasonable hourly rate multiplied by the number of hours worked - of $1,991,507. Then court then doubled the attorney fees due to the complexity and length of the case and the "highly favorable outcome" obtained by the attorneys. The court of appeals affirmed the award. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Appellees' attorneys were reasonably compensated, so there should have been no enhancement to the lodestar. View "Phoenix Lighting Group, LLC v. Genlyte Thomas Group, LLC" 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 prohibition and dismissed as moot the motions Appellant filed in connection with the complaint, holding that the court of appeals correctly dismissed the complaint.In his complaint, Appellant sought to vacate charging orders and receivership orders concerning his membership interests in two limited liability companies, asserting that the orders exceeded the authority of Henry County Court of Common Pleas Judge John Collier. The court of appeals dismissed the complaint, concluding that Judge Collier did not patently and unambiguously lack jurisdiction to enter a charging order or to appoint a receiver. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because Judge Collier had subject matter jurisdiction to enter a charging order and to appoint a receiver, Appellant did not show that the judge patently and unambiguously lacked jurisdiction. View "State ex rel. Kerr v. Collier" on Justia Law

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In this quo warranto case in which the attorney general sought to dissolve Omar Ibn El Khattab Mosque, Inc. the Supreme Court granted Appellants' motion for reconsideration of the Court's decision affirming the decision of the court of appeals granting the writ, vacated its earlier decision, reversed the judgment of the court of appeals, and remanded the case with instructions to deny the writ, holding that this Court's initial decision was in error.The Ohio attorney general filed a complaint for a writ of quo warranto seeking to dissolve the corporation and appoint a receiver, alleging that the corporation violated three rules of corporate governance. The court of appeals issued a writ of quo warranto. The Supreme Court affirmed. The Court subsequently granted Appellants' motion for reconsideration and held that the writ should not issue. View "State ex rel. Yost v. Omar Ibn El Khattab Mosque, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals granting a writ of quo warranto sought by the attorney general and ordering the dissolution of Omar Ibn El Khattab Mosque, Inc., holding that the corporation’s failure to adhere to statutory requirements amounted to a surrender of the corporation’s rights and privileges necessitating the remedy of dissolution.Following its inception, the corporation failed to comply with corporate formalities, leading to internal disagreements. A rift subsequently formed between members of the corporation’s congregation, and competing boards of directors were elected, both claiming authority over the corporation and its charitable funds. The leadership struggle led to the funds being frozen and transferred to the Franklin County Clerk of Courts. The attorney general later brought this action seeking to dissolve the corporation. The court of appeals granted the writ and remanded the matter to the court of common pleas to supervise the winding down of the corporation and appoint a trustee or receiver to oversee the creation of a successor entity. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the facts established a causal link between the failure to observe corporate formalities and the congregation’s schism and the loss of charitable funds. View "State ex rel. DeWine v. Omar Ibn El Khattab Mosque, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted a peremptory writ of prohibition to halt an action for an assignment for the benefit of a disbarred attorney’s creditors (the ABC action) pending before a Hamilton County probate judge. In 2004, nineteen judgment creditors filed a lawsuit alleging that the attorney at issue had stolen millions of dollars in settlement funds while representing them. A Kentucky trial court ruled that the attorney was jointly and severally liable for $42 million. The court of appeals affirmed. In 2013, the Kentucky Supreme Court permanently disbarred the attorney for his conduct in the underlying representation. In 2015, a Boone County circuit court judge ordered the attorney to transfer his beneficial interest in a company, which were held in trust for the purpose of winding up operations, to the creditors. The attorney did not transfer the shares to the creditors, and the shares were later transferred. The Supreme Court granted the creditors’ motion for a peremptory writ of prohibition barring further proceedings in the ABC action, holding that the necessary elements for a writ of prohibition to issue were all present in this case. View "State ex rel. McGirr v. Winkler" on Justia Law

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Appellants and Grady Reed were shareholders in a closely held corporation. In a 2010 complaint, Reed alleged that Appellants had breached the shareholders’ agreement and demanded relief in the form of money damages. After a jury trial, Judge Richard Ferenc granted Reed’s motion for a directed verdict and awarded him money damages, apportioning the liability among Appellants in proportion to their shares in the corporation. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the trial court erred by treating the complaint as an action for money damages when the only available remedy was specific performance. On remand, Judge Ferenc concluded that Appellants had no right to a jury trial because Reed’s predominant claim for relief was equitable in nature. Appellants sought a writ of prohibition arguing that Judge Ferenc’s exercise of judicial power was unauthorized by law and that they did not have an adequate remedy by way of appeal from his adverse rulings. The court of appeals granted Judge Ferenc’s motion to dismiss the complaint. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellants failed to establish their entitlement to a writ of prohibition. View "State ex rel. Samarghandi v. Ferenc" on Justia Law