Important Cases


                          Recent Decisions:

Whipple Law, LLC is pleased to share the following recent decisions:

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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Pam Black v. Stouffer Realty and Nikki Konstand Relic, Summit County Common Pleas Case No. CV2010-11-7671.  A real estate agent induced the home buyer and home seller to sign a dual agency agreement, which required the agent and her broker to be fair, honest and neutral to buyer and seller.  Unfortunately, the agent worked in favor of the seller only and betrayed her duties to the buyer.  The broker failed to supervise its agent and refused to assist in correcting the problems that the agent had caused.

Doug Whipple tried the case to a jury, which found both the broker and agent liable for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud.  The jury awarded $26,000 in damages against both broker and agent and recommended that the buyer also be reimbursed for her attorney fees.  The case is pending in the Court of Appeals.

Home buyers should protect themselves by not signing a dual agency agreement or a house purchase agreement without first consulting with their own attorney.

Selected Published Cases:

DOUGLAS P. WHIPPLE SERVED AS
TRIAL COUNSEL ON EACH OF THE
FOLLOWING PUBLISHED CASES:

Royal Indem. Co. v. J.C. Penney Co., Inc., 27 Ohio St.3d 31, 501 N.E.2d 617 (Ohio 1986).  In a complex case arising from a large shopping center fire, a Pennsylvania law firm was admitted “pro hac vice” (permitted to practice in Ohio just for the single case) to represent the client’s adversary.  The out-of-state attorneys repeatedly stated that certain inculpatory evidence did not exist, but these statements were false and deceptive because the evidence was actually in the possession of the out-of-state attorneys.  The Trial Court consequently revoked the privilege of the out-of-state lawyers to practice law in Ohio.  The Ohio Supreme Court affirmed the decision, holding that out-of-state attorneys are subject to the state’s disciplinary code.  This was selected as the lead case in an annotation by American Law Reports (A.L.R.) on the topic of revocation of pro hac vice admissions.

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Convenient Food Mart, Inc. v. Countywide Petroleum Co.
, 2005-Ohio-1994, 05-LW-1731 (OHCA8) 84722.  After a protracted contract dispute between the client and a gasoline retail chain, the parties entered into a verbal settlement.  The client filed a motion to enforce the settlement agreement after the other party balked at certain provisions in the written agreement.  The Trial Court adopted the client’s version of the written agreement, and the Court of Appeals affirmed that decision.

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Tabbaa v. Koglman
, 2005-Ohio-1498, 05-LW-1303 (OHCA8) 94539.  The client, the landlord of commercial property, was sued by his tenant.  Client asserted a counterclaim and obtained a jury verdict in the amount of $225,000.  The parties entered into a verbal settlement in the amount of $300,000, but the tenant refused to execute the subsequent written settlement agreement.  The Trial Court, after conducting an evidentiary hearing, entered an order enforcing the $300,000 judgment and awarded an additional $41,000 in interest.  The Court of Appeals held that the order of the Trial Court enforcing the settlement agreement was proper.

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Tabbaa v. Koglman
, 2004-Ohio-2706, 04-LW-2280 (OHCA8) 83215.  The client, the landlord of commercial property, was sued by his tenant.  The client asserted a counterclaim and obtained a jury verdict in the amount of $225,000.  The client then obtained a garnishment against the tenant’s bank account.  The tenant argued that the Municipal Court should release the garnished funds once the Court was notified of a subsequent $300,000 settlement of the case, but the Court of Appeals held that the argument was premature and consequently dismissed the tenant’s appeal.

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State v. Caplan, 2004-Ohio-4990, 04-LW-4178 (OHCA7) 03 MA 91.  The client was cited for failing to change lanes while approaching a police car with flashing lights that was making a traffic stop on the berm of a multi-lane highway.  The client’s conviction was overturned based on overwhelming evidence that the client subjectively believed that she could not safely change lanes under the existing traffic conditions, notwithstanding the provision of Ohio Revised Code 4511.213 that requires drivers approaching safety vehicles to take such evasive action.


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Cerio v. Hilroc Condominium Unit Owners Assn., Inc.
, 2004-Ohio-1254, 04-LW-1048 (OHCA8) 83309.  Thirty-one clients sued their condominium association because they were assessed for balcony repairs even though their condo units did not have balconies.  The Trial Court declared the balconies to be “limited common areas” and permanently enjoined the condominium association from collecting assessments from the clients for any balcony repairs.

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Currey v. Shell Oil Co., 112 Ohio App.3d 312, 678 N.E.2d 635 (Ohio App. 4 Dist. 1996).  An explosion occurred at client’s chemical company which in turn ignited fires in the facility’s tank farm.  The resulting fumes, smoke and debris triggered a community evaluation.  The Court of Appeals held that the plaintiffs—persons and neighboring businesses—failed to present significant evidence that a class action against the client would be a superior judicial procedure to individual lawsuits.

      
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Perry v. S.S. Steel Processing Corp.
, 40 Ohio App.3d 198, 532 N.E.2d 783 (Ohio App. 8 Dist. 1987).  The client was sued by the estate of its employee, who was killed in a steel coil slitting line.  The estate alleged that the client was liable for intentional tort and also in negligence for non-compliance with the workers compensation statutes.  The Trial Court vacated a $1,362,750 jury verdict against the client.  The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the client’s certificate of premium payment was prima facia evidence of compliance, thereby entitling the client to statutory employer’s immunity.

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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