Here’s my list of the top ten decisions handed down by the Supreme Court of Ohio in 2013 that I’ve blogged about. I don’t blog on all cases argued, so this list is totally subjective.
1. Freshwater v. Mt. Vernon City School Dist. Bd. of Edn., 2013-Ohio-5000. In a 4-3 decision, the Court upheld the firing of 8th grade science teacher John Freshwater for “insubordination in refusing to remove religious displays in his classroom after being told to do, and for continuing to inject his personal religious beliefs into his plan and pattern of instruction, thereby exceeding the bounds of the school district’s bylaws and policies, even after being forbidden to do so.” Read the analysis of the case here.
2. State v. Clark, 2013-Ohio-4731. In a 4-3 decision, the Court held that a child’s statement to his teachers about physical abuse constitutes testimonial evidence barred by the Confrontation Clause when the child has been found incompetent to testify. Read the analysis of the case here.
3. Anderson v. Barclay’s Capital Real Estate, Inc., 2013-Ohio-1933. In a 5-2 decision, the Court held that mortgage servicers are not covered under the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act. Read the analysis of the case here.
4. State v. Boykin, Slip Opinion No. 2013-Ohio-4582. In a 6-1 decision the Court held that a gubernatorial pardon does not automatically entitle the recipient to have the record of the pardoned conviction sealed. Read the analysis of the case here.
5. Cullen v. State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co., 2013-Ohio-4733. In a 5-2 decision, the Court reversed a class certification by the trial court and clarified the extent to which the underlying case merits must be analyzed in deciding whether to grant certification. Read the guest analysis of the case here. It was a bad year for class actions. Earlier in the year, the Court upheld the denial of a class certification in Stammco, L.L.C., v. United Tel. Co. of Ohio, 2013-Ohio-3019. That was also a 5-2 decision.
6. Ries v. Ohio State Univ. Med. Ctr., 2013-Ohio-4545. In a 5-2 decision, the Court held that a doctor who works for a state medical school and a private billing corporation is entitled to personal immunity from malpractice when providing clinical care to a patient, even if medical students or residents are not present during the treatment or procedure. Read the analysis of the case here.
7. Mahoning Edn. Ass’n. of Dev. Disabilities v. State Emp. Relations Bd.,2013-Ohio-4654. The Court unanimously held that the union had not committed an unfair labor practice by failing to give the 10-day advance notice for picketing required under R.C. 4117.11(B)(8) of the Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act. The Court split 5-2 on the constitutional challenge to that statutory provision, with the majority avoiding the issue by finding the statute did not apply to informational picketing (which this was). Read the analysis of the case here.
8. Pauley v. Circleville, 2013-Ohio-4541. In a 5-2 decision, the Court held that the city was not liable for the injuries to a teenager who was sled-riding in a city park, since the city owed no duty to keep the park safe for recreational users. Read the analysis of the case here.
9. Leopold v. Ace Doran Hauling & Rigging Co., 2013-Ohio-3107. In a 4-3 decision, the Court held that the physician-patient privilege, codified at R.C. 2317.02 does not protect medical records that a patient has previously disclosed in other litigation from the same accident. Read the analysis of the case here.
10. State v. Ricks, 2013-Ohio-3712. In a unanimous decision, the Court held that in this murder trial it was improper to admit a non-testifying accomplice’s out-of-court statements identifying the defendant through the testimony of an investigating police officer. But the Court split 4-3 on its reasoning, with four justices finding the admission of the statement to be a Confrontation Clause violation, while the other three would find only a violation of Evid. R. 403. Read the analysis of the case here.