Coming Changes to ORC Will Significantly Undermine Municipal Authority Over Small Cell Wireless Facilities in the ROW

On December 7, 2016, the Ohio General Assembly passed Substitute Senate Bill 331 (SB 331), which significantly impacts a municipality's ability to regulate the placement, construction, modification, and maintenance of "small cell" wireless facilities in the public right of way. As originally introduced, SB 331 only sought to regulate dog sales by pet stores and retailers. But as the Generally Assembly went into its lame duck session, additional provisions – completely unrelated to the original subject – were inserted into the legislation, including amendments to Ohio Revised Code Chapter 4939 intended to provide expedited access to municipal right-of-way (ROW) for small cell wireless providers. Governor Kasich signed the bill on December 19, 2016, and it will take effect in 90 days. [More]

Ohio Supreme Court Finds That Release of Police Body-Camera Video within Reasonable Period of Time not a Violation of Ohio Public Records Law

In State ex. rel. Cincinnati Enquirer, et al. v. Deters, Pros. Attorney, released on December 20, 2016, the Ohio Supreme Court was faced with several important issues raised by the use by police departments of body-camera video. The Court determined that, assuming such video constitutes a "public record," public bodies are entitled to a reasonable amount of time to review the video for needed redactions before the video must be released. This case is a reminder that public bodies must be prepared for the age of ubiquitous video, which is upon us. [More]

Transgender Student Case Makes Its Way To The United States Supreme Court

The national debate regarding transgender students' rights and the obligations of school districts has developed rapidly this year. Courts across the country, including in Ohio, have issued varied decisions on these issues and the United States Department of Education ("DOE") and the United States Department of Justice ("DOJ") have issued controversial guidance. On October 28, 2016, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear the recent Fourth Circuit Gloucester County School Board v. GG case, regarding bathroom use policy in relation to a transgender student. So, clarification on some of the issues facing districts may be on the horizon. [More]

The Degree of "Educational Benefit" Required for a Free Appropriate Public Education: United States Supreme Court to Settle the Debate

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA), public schools must provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to students with disabilities. The degree of "educational benefit" a child must receive in order for the school district to have provided a FAPE has been a question that school districts across the country have grappled with for decades. But clarification is in sight as the United States Supreme Court will hear the case of Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District RE-1. The central issue in Endrew F. is defining the level of educational benefit a school district must confer on children with disabilities to provide them with the FAPE guaranteed by the IDEIA. [More]

Settlement Reached in 12-Year-Old Lake Erie Border Class Action Lawsuit - Owners of property bordering Lake Erie in Ohio may be entitled to compensation (but claim forms must be filed by October 12, 2016)

A class action lawsuit dating back to 2004 has finally been settled involving the owners of property bordering Lake Erie in Ohio who filed against the State of Ohio (State), in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). As part of the settlement, affected current and past landowners may qualify for reimbursement if they file the necessary claim form by October 12 of this year.
At the heart of the lawsuit was the State's claim of public trust ownership up to the Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM) of Lake Erie. It was back in 2011 that the Ohio Supreme Court weighed in with its opinion that the State's title in trust to Lake Erie is actually the natural shoreline and not the OHWM. This led to years of litigation and fact finding between the various parties, resulting in the current settlement. [More]