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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
Oct052016

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

CWP&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 Scott D. Simpkins at 216-621-8484.  

Wednesday
Oct052016

CWP&G Ranked as One of the Top 50 Plaintiff’s Securities Law Firms in the Country

CWP&G was ranked in Institutional Shareholder Services SCAS Top 50 Report as one of the top plaintiff’s securities law firms in the country ranked by dollar value of 2015 class action settlements.  A copy of the SCAS Top 50 Report is available at https://www.issgovernance.com/file/publications/2015-scas-top-50-apr-2016.pdf

Monday
Dec142015

Eighth District Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of CWP&G Client and Against the City of Cleveland

In administrative appeal of termination of construction equipment operator in the city's department of public utilities, the Eighth District Court of Appeals determined that the trial court erred in upholding the employee’s termination where employee's action in placing rainfall debris in a creek during a storm did not warrant dismissal under any of the grounds cited by the city since amount of debris was relatively minor and was not shown to have violated any law and in his almost six years working for the city, this was an isolated event.

A copy of the decision can be found on the Ohio Supreme Court's website at http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/rod/docs/pdf/8/2015/2015-Ohio-5140.pdf.  If you have any questions regarding the Court of Appeals decision, please do not hesitate to contact CWP&G attorney Stewart “Dan” Roll at (216) 621-8484.

Thursday
Dec102015

Court Grants Final Approval of Invacare, Corp. Class Action Settlement

CWP&G is pleased to announce that on November 19, 2015, Judge Christopher A. Boyko of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio granted final approval to an $11 million class action settlement in the matter Cambridge Retirement System v. Invacare Corporation, Case No. 1:13-cv-01165.  Invacare Corporation (“Invacare”) is the world’s leading manufacturer of wheelchairs, bariatric equipment, disability scooters, respiratory products and other homecare products.  The securities class action matter was brought against Invacare and its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer on behalf of Invacare investors who purchased or otherwise acquired Invacare common stock between February 27, 20019 and December 7, 2011, inclusive.  

CWP&G acted as court-appointed local counsel with lead counsel Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann, LLP.  More information about the settlement can be found at www.InvacareSecuritiesClassActionSettlement.com

Monday
Sep282015

Ohio Eminent Domain Law

Eminent domain is the right of governmental agencies and public utilities to take private property for public use. The right, use and over use of the power of eminent domain are the subject of countless articles, court cases and debate. This article is intended to provide but a mere overview of eminent domain. Today, the power of eminent domain is being used to further useful and needed road construction projects, such as Cleveland’s Opportunity Corridor and to further the controversial Nexus natural gas transmission pipeline running through northwest into northeast Ohio.

In general, any direct encroachment upon land, which subjects it to a public use that excludes or restricts the dominion and control of the owner, is a taking or appropriation of property, for which the owner is guaranteed a right of compensation. Eminent domain, however, is not limited to actual physical takings of property. In the absence of a physical taking of property, a taking occurs only where there is a substantial interference with the rights of ownership of private property. Any such substantial interference with the rights of ownership of private property is deemed to be a taking for which compensation is owed to the property owner. For example, Ohio courts routinely find that repeated flooding of private property from government-owned sewer and water management systems constitutes a taking.

In general, in appropriations by a government agency, the property owner is entitled to compensation for the property taken, as well as damages resulting from the taking to the residue of the property still held by the owner. As such, when a government agency appropriates property, the owner may be entitled to a two-fold remedy. The owner is entitled to “compensation” for the property actually taken. Compensation is defined as the fair market value of the property.  If the taking is only partial, the owner may be entitled to “damages.” Damages are the injury resulting from the taking to the “residue” of the property still held by the owner, less any special benefits accruing to the residue from improvements. Damage to the residue is measured by the difference between the pre- and post-appropriation fair market value of the residue. 

The term “fair market value” is usually defined as that price which would be agreed upon between a willing seller and a willing buyer in a voluntary sale on the open market. In determining the fair market value of the subject property before and after the appropriation, “’every element that can fairly enter into the question of value, and which an ordinarily prudent business man would consider before forming judgment in making a purchase, should be considered.´”  The rule of valuation in a land-appropriation proceeding is not what the property is worth for any particular use, but what it is worth generally for any and all uses for which it might be suitable, including the most valuable uses to which it can reasonably and practically be adapted.

In calculating fair market value of real property, real estate appraisers and other real estate professionals employ three recognized methods of appraisal: (1) cost of reproducing the property, less depreciation; (2) market data approach utilizing recent sales of comparable property; and (3) the income or economic approach based upon the capitalization of net income.

Property owners are also entitled to express their opinions about the fair market value of their property. For example, numerous Ohio courts have held that property owner's testimony that his property was worth less as a result of the removal of trees was properly admitted as "evidence of the diminution in market value.” Because the 'owner-opinion' rule assumes that the owner is so closely acquainted with the property as to stay abreast of its market value, such testimony does not require a specific foundation. Nonetheless, an arborist’s testimony can add substantial weight to the owners’ opinion.

There are numerous other issues which might arise from the use and misuse of the power of eminent domain. If you have any questions concerning your rights with regard to an appropriation case, please contact Patricia M. Ritzert or Scott D. Simpkins at (216) 621-8484.