Litigation

Open Cases: 

Corsi v. Ohio Elections Commission challenges free speech restrictions against political bloggers and grass roots activists.  Ed Corsi, a political blogger and pamphleteer, distributed materials critical of his local elected officials.  One of those same officials sought prosecution of Mr. Corsi.

Progress Ohio v. JobsOhio is a case in which the 1851 Center has filed a “friend of the court” brief to the Ohio Supreme Court, asserting that Progress Ohio has taxpayer and “public interest” standing to challenge the constitutionality of Governor Kasich’s JobsOhio legislation.

 

Completed Cases:

Shaker Heights Taxpayers Union v. City of Shaker Heights successfully defeated a frivolous trademark lawsuit levied at a local taxpayer group. The threat had come in retaliation for the citizens’ opposition to the city’s attempt to increase income taxes.

Young Americans for Liberty v. University of Cincinnati successfully challenged free speech restrictions on college students. After being named the #1 worst college for free speech in the nation, the 1851 Center remedied the university’s dishonorable award.

Cincinnati Public Schools v. Conners successfully challenged deed restrictions restraining charter and private schools. Cincinnati Public Schools attempted to prohibit charter or private schools from using any school buildings that CPS previously owned.

The Drees Company v. Hamilton Township successfully challenged township imposition of taxes. The 1851 Center argued that Ohio townships, which do not have the power to levy taxes, cannot levy back-door taxes on new homeowners and developers by calling them fees.

Merrill v. State of Ohio Department of Natural Resources  was an important victory for property rights against the “public trust doctrine.”  The Attorney General and environmental interest groups had claimed that because the State owns the waters of Lake Erie, it also owns the beaches.

Oleksa v. Murray successfully ended the use of project labor agreements and prevailing wage rates on public school projects. The Ohio School Facilities Commission agreed to adopt Resolution 11-16. The move is expected to save Ohio taxpayers tens of millions of dollars and level the playing field between union and non-union contractors.

Miller v. ACORN resulted in the surrender of ACORN’s business license under RICO. The 1851 Center achieved victory in its state RICO action against the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). ACORN ceased all Ohio activity and surrendered all of its Ohio business licenses.

Manna Storehouse v. Ohio Department of Agriculture challenged unreasonable licensing laws. Manna Storehouse and its owners, the Stowers family, were the victims of an armed raid conducted by the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Lorain County Health Department.

Ohio Liberty Council v. Brunner won the right to circulate petitions for the Ohio Health Care Freedom Amendment. The Ballot Board, chaired by Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, had rejected a proposed health care freedom constitutional amendment.

Slingluff v. Andover Township protected the right to commemorate the constitution on public property.  The ruling is a victory for Andover Township residents who were previously blocked by township officials from celebrating Constitution Day with a rally at a public park.

COAST v. Cincinnati  protected the right to circulate initiative petitions. The City of Cincinnati was harassing, blocking, and threatening to arrest citizens circulating an initiative petition on public property. After the Center filed a complaint, the City entered into a settlement requiring them to allow petitioners to gather signatures.

Pour House, Inc. v. Ohio Department of Health successfully challenged unreasonable fines related to the smoking ban.  The enforcement regime essentially required small businesses to enforce the state smoking ban for the state. It’s the government’s law and the state should enforce its own laws.

Toledo Planning Commission and Private Schools successfully protected private schools’ right to exist. The Toledo City Council and Toledo Planning Commission planned to pass an ordinance applying “Minimum School Facilities Requirements” to private schools.

Mortgage Modification Bill: In March 2009, the 1851 Center submitted written and oral testimony to the Ohio General Assembly on House Bill 3, a bill that would allow Ohio’s trial judges to rewrite the terms of mortgage contracts. The Center’s testimony made it clear that HB 3 was an unconstitutional abridgment of written contracts, and if passed, the 1851 Center would pursue legal action. The Housing Subcommittee removed the provision.

SpeechNow.org v. FEC challenged restrictions on political speech. The Federal Elections Commission viewed the non-profit, SpeechNow.org, much like a political action committee (PAC). The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals provided SpeechNow.org with a precedent-setting victory.

Gahanna’s Unconstitutional, High-Risk Loan Plan was a proposal for taxpayer backed venture-capital funding for local businesses. Gahanna City Council postponed a vote authorizing a city-backed $375,000 high-risk venture capital loan fund after the 1851 Center informed council members that the Ohio Constitution prohibits the city from raising money for or loaning its credit to any private company, corporation or association.

Jackson v. Bartec challenged the application of Ohio’s smoking ban to bars and taverns. The Center argued that the smoking ban unconstitutionally deprives business owners of fundamental property rights. The 1851 Center represented Zeno’s Victorian Village, a family owned tavern in Columbus, Ohio.

LetOhioVote.org v. Brunner was a victory for Ohioans’ referendum rights. The legal center’s filing supports the right of Ohioans to have a public vote on video slot machines at Ohio horse race tracks.  The Supreme Court of Ohio sided with LetOhioVote.org, 6-1.

Dayton Tea Party v. Ohio Municipal League challenged the secret use of public funds to lobby for greater taxes & spending. The Ohio Municipal League and Ohio Township Association’s lobbying records should be made public. Both organizations use taxpayer funds to lobby for higher taxes and increased spending.

Moto Verde and the Village of Fairfax successfully challenged zoning regulations applied to destroy a scooter business. The 1851 Center advised the Village of Fairfax, an enclave of Cincinnati, that it had violated the constitutional rights of Moto Verde. Fairfax reconsidered and today Moto Verde is open for business.

Ohio Department of Commerce v. 700 West Broad AGA challenged the imposition of Ohio’s prevailing wage laws. Ohio’s current prevailing wage law is, in part, unconstitutional. The case exposed fundamental flaws in the current prevailing wage law and showed a court that is unwilling to confront the constitutional issues.

Ohio Grocer’s Association v. Ohio Tax Commissioner challenged the application of the commercial activities tax to food. Ohio’s Commercial Activities Tax is an unconstitutional excise tax on food which is levied on Ohio grocers based on sales.