Client Alerts

Whipple Law, LLC is pleased to offer the following articles and client alerts:

LAWSUIT CAUSES CITY TO IMPROVE
ITS PUBLIC RECORDS POLICY
 

            The public records lawsuit that Whipple Law brought against the City of Cleveland Heights has helped promote positive changes in the City’s transparency.  The lawsuit alleged that the City had failed to conduct a necessary public hearing on the controversial Taylor Road rehabilitation project and that it took months to release public records that should have been produced within a matter of days.  The City eventually paid thousands of dollars to settle the lawsuit and avoid a public trial.

            
The City Manager and Law Director who engaged in the conduct that the lawsuit criticized no longer work for the City.

            In an article recently published in Cleveland.com and the Sun News the new City Manager, Tanisha Briley, pointed to recent initiatives that demonstrate a commitment to openness and transparency.  The article quoted Ms. Briley as saying:  “These programs are just the beginning of more to come this year.”

            Residents of Cleveland Heights have been pressing the city government for years to enhance its accountability and open communications.  Many of these citizens gave their moral support to this public records lawsuit that apparently has been a wake-up call for City Hall insiders.  While the recent changes are to be commended, Whipple Law will continue to advocate for additional improvements in the City’s public records policies and practices that are long overdue.

Click the link below to read the article published in
Cleveland.com and the Sun News
 

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                          OHIO COURTS HAVE PERSONAL JURISDICTION
                                  OVER OUT-OF-STATE RESIDENTS FOR
                         
DEFAMATORY STATEMENTS ON THE INTERNET

         The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that an Ohio business may sue an out-of-state resident for defamatory statements made on the internet.  The defendant, a thirty-year resident of Virginia, had never been in Ohio.  He purchased an engine block that he had viewed on the plaintiff’s website.  A dispute arose between the plaintiff and defendant as to whether the engine block was defective when sold or modified after purchase.  The out-of-state defendant posted numerous rancorous criticisms of the Ohio business and its principal on automobile racing websites.
                                                                                                                                                                  The Court ruled that the exercise by an Ohio court over the defendant did not deprive him of his right to due process under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  The defendant argued that there was no jurisdiction over him because he had neither directed the tortious statements to Ohio nor published them here.  In ruling in favor of the Ohio business, the Supreme Court made three significant findings.  First, the defendant’s statements concerned the plaintiff’s Ohio activities, i.e., Ohio is where the plaintiff does all its manufacturing and warranty work.  Second, the defendant not only knew that his statements could damage the plaintiff’s reputation, he intended such damage to the plaintiff—because he felt justified in doing so.  Third, the statements were predicated on the business dealings between the defendant and the plaintiff; the personal jurisdiction was not based on some unrelated contacts with this state.
    
            The Supreme Court concluded, “We decline to allow a nonresident defendant to take advantage of the conveniences that modern technology affords and simultaneously be shielded from the consequences of his intentionally tortious conduct.”  Kauffman Racing Equipment, LLC v. Roberts, 2010-Ohio-2551 (June 10, 2010), ¶74.

            This decision will be reassuring to businesses and individuals in Ohio who are concerned that their good reputations might be unfairly attacked in public website forums and blogs by disgruntled out-of-state persons with whom they do business on the internet.

Douglas P. Whipple; dpw@whipple-law.com; 216-912-8479
Lex Internet No. 120201
© 2012 - 2013 Whipple Law, LLC; www.whipple-law.com

This article is intended to inform clients, colleagues and other friends of  Whipple Law, LLC about current legal developments of general interest.  It should not be construed as legal advice, and readers should not act upon the information without professional counsel.

                                       
Strategies for Success and Security™

Douglas P. Whipple
Attorney at Law
Whipple Law, LLC
13940 Cedar Road, Ste. 420
Cleveland, OH 44118-3204

(216) 912-8479
FAX (216) 321-0990

dpw@whipple-law.com