Follow Us On
News Index

News & Information

We are proud to share with you announcements concerning current legal developments, our recent accomplishments and other news & information that may be of interest to our friends and clients.
Wednesday
Dec282016

CWPT&G Recognized by City of Parma’s Treasurer for Assisting City with Saving Almost $1.4 Million Over the Past Five Years

In a recent Cleveland.com article, the City of Parma’s Treasurer, Tom Mastroianni, announced how the City has saved almost $1.4 million since 2011 by refunding City bonds to obtain better rates.  In the article, Mr. Mastroianni, acknowledged the City's bond counsel CWPT&G for their assistance and legal counsel in the ongoing process of saving City residents money.  A copy of the article can be found at http://www.cleveland.com/parma/index.ssf/2016/12/parma_treasurer_announces_savi.html.  If you have any questions regarding this article or you would like to discuss our municipal finance practice, please call Dennis R. Wilcox, Thomas J. Tarantino or Patricia M. Ritzert at 216-621-8484.

Friday
Dec162016

The Recent Impact of Tort Reform; Is this the “Fair and Predictable System of Civil Justice” Intended by the Ohio General Assembly? 

Effective April 7, 2005, the Ohio General Assembly enacted R.C. 2315.18 as part of a broader tort-reform bill. R.C. 2315.18(B)(2) establishes a cap on compensatory tort damages for "noneconomic loss, " which includes but is not limited to "pain and suffering, loss of society, consortium, companionship, care, assistance, attention, protection, advice, guidance, counsel, instruction, training, or education, disfigurement, mental anguish, and any other intangible loss.” Generally speaking, caps are set at $250,000 to $350,000.

According to the Ohio General Assembly, tort reform was passed purportedly in the interest in "a fair, predictable system of civil justice" that preserves the rights of injured parties while curbing frivolous lawsuits, which increase the costs of doing business, threaten Ohio jobs, drive up consumer costs, and may hinder innovation.”

The damage caps on noneconomic loss do not apply where the noneconomic loss is for "permanent and substantial physical deformity, loss of use of a limb, or loss of a bodily organ system" or for "permanent physical functional injury that permanently prevents the injured person from being able to independently care for self and perform life-sustaining activities.

Very recently, in Simpkins v. Grace Brethren Church of Delaware, 2016-Ohio-8118, 2014-1953, the Ohio Supreme Court applied the damage caps on noneconomic damages to reduce a $3,500,000 jury verdict in favor of a young girl who was forcibly raped by her minister to $350,000. While the jury determined the young girl’s noneconomic damages totaled $3,500,000, the Supreme Court, applying the tort reform statute, found her damages were properly reduced to $350,000.

The majority of the Ohio Supreme Court found that application of the damage caps to a minor who was the victim of sexual assault does not violate the minor's constitutional rights to a jury trial, to a remedy and open courts, to equal protection, and to due process.

Two Justices dissented. Justice O’Neill, with Justice Pfeifer concurring, wrote: “This child was raped in a church office by a minister, and a duly empaneled jury established an appropriate level of compensation for the loss of her childhood innocence. We have no right to interfere with that process. Shame on the General Assembly. The children are watching. And I for one do not like what they are seeing.”

To Justice O’Neil’s dissent one might add that, not only has the Ohio General Assembly preordained a formula to place a cap on the amount of noneconomic damages a young girl might obtain from a rapist as determined by a duly empaneled jury of our peers, the Ohio General Assembly has preordained that in certain circumstances an individual can receive treble (or triple) damages in the event of the willful destruction of trees (R.C. 901.51), for certain unfair consumer sales practices (1345.092), and for damages in civil action to enforce publicity right (2741.07(D)).

It is unfortunate that the Ohio General Assembly has placed a premium on vines, bushes, trees, or crops on land of another, while in the name of creating a fair, predictable system of civil justice, has preordained a formula to place a cap on the amount of noneconomic damages a young girl might obtain from a rapist.

While the civil justice system shouldn’t be this complicated; regrettably, it is. Should you have questions regarding the civil justice system, please feel free to contact David M. Cuppage, at 216-621-8484.

Thursday
Oct062016

Ohio Supreme Court Decides 14 Fracking-Related Cases: Finds 2006 Dormant Mineral Act Applies

On September 15, 2016, the Ohio Supreme Court rendered its long anticipated decisions in 14 fracking related cases. Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, has led to numerous lawsuits among parties disputing ownership of oil and gas rights. The Ohio Supreme Court issued three written opinions regarding how to interpret the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act (ODMA), and dispensed with 10 other cases based on two of the three cases decided that day.

In the lead case, Corban v. Chesapeake Exploration L.L.C., the Supreme Court ruled that the 1989 version of the ODMA did not automatically allow oil, gas, and mineral rights to be deemed abandoned and vested in a surface owner, but required the surface owner to seek a judicial decree that the mineral rights were abandoned.

In a second fracking-related opinion, the Court applied the Corban ruling in Walker v. Shondrick-Nau, to find that the mineral rights holder properly retained the mineral rights when they followed the procedures to preserve them under the 2006 ODMA.

Finally, in Albanese v. Batman, the Court again applied the Corban decision to conclude that the surface owners of the real estate did not properly follow the 2006 ODMA’s requirement to serve notice to the mineral rights’ owners before attempting to declare their mineral rights abandoned.

Collectively, these cases resolve the issue of which version of the ODMA courts should apply when determining mineral rights ownership in Ohio.

Should you have questions regarding this matter, please feel free to contact David M. Cuppage, at 216-621-8484.

Wednesday
Oct052016

Court Grants Final Approval to $84 Million Class Action Settlement

CWPT&G is pleased to announce that on June 30, 2016, Judge Dan Polster of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio granted final approval to an $84 million class action settlement in the matter Department of the Treasury of the State of New Jersey and its Division of Investment v. Cliffs Natural Resources, Inc., Case No. 1:14-cv-01031.  The securities class action matter was brought against Cliffs Natural Resources, Inc. and certain of its senior executives.  The settlement class consists of all persons and entities who or which purchased Cliffs common stock from March 14, 2012 through March 26, 2013, inclusive, and were damaged thereby, except for certain persons and entities excluded from the settlement class by definition. 

CWPT&G acted as court-appointed local counsel with co- lead counsel Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann, LLP and Lowenstein Sandler, LLP.  More information about the settlement can be found at http://www.cliffssecuritieslitigation.com/.

Wednesday
Oct052016

Federal Court Jury Awards CWPT&G Client $1.365 Million Verdict on Breach of Contract and Retaliation Claims

CWPT&G is pleased to announce on behalf of their client, Dr. Paul Matus, that a federal court jury issued a verdict in his favor on his claims for breach of contract and retaliation against the Lorain County General Health District.  The jury awarded Dr. Matus $1,365,175.00 to compensate him for the damages he has suffered.

Dr. Matus’ April 2013 Complaint alleged that the Health District breached its contract with Dr. Matus and, in doing so, violated its obligations of good faith and fair dealing with Dr. Matus. In addition, the Complaint alleged the Health District’s termination of Dr. Matus’ employment contract was in retaliation for his participation in an investigation of charges leveled against him.

David M. Cuppage and Margaret M. Metzinger, principals of the firm, vigorously fought to restore the reputation and standing of Dr. Matus throughout this process. They consider the jury’s verdict a complete vindication for Dr. Matus.  If you have any questions regarding this matter or any other employment related matter, please contact David M. Cuppage or Margaret M. Metzinger at 216-621-8484.