Farewell to Bill O’Neill.

Bill O’Neill is gone from the Supreme Court of Ohio. He left to pursue his run for governor. O’Neill’s last day was Friday, January 26, 2018, and his replacement has already been sworn in. O’Neill joined the Court on January 2, 2013, in an upset victory over then-incumbent Justice Robert Cupp. Since he arrived, O’Neill has been the only Democrat on the Court.

In the spirit of wishing him farewell, here are excerpts from some choice O’Neill dissents:

“I am unable to join a majority decision that absolves from liability a liquor-permit holder who encourages the dancers in its club to drink alcohol in order to reap enormous profits from the drinks purchased for the dancers, does not monitor the intoxication level of the dancers, and then sends them out on the roads without ensuring that they are fit to drive.”

Dissent, Johnson v. Montgomery  2017-Ohio-7445.

“Every police vehicle is now a police station on wheels. Being directed to have a seat in a police vehicle is akin to being taken to the police station.”

Dissent, Cleveland v. Oles, Slip Opinion No. 2017-Ohio-5834.

“I wonder when concepts of human dignity will evolve sufficiently that the State of Ohio will lay down the death penalty entirely just like the more obvious forms of torture that have been abandoned so far.”

Dissent, State v. Broom, 2016-Ohio-1028.

“The time to end this outdated form of punishment in Ohio has arrived. While I recognize that capital punishment is the law of the land, I cannot participate in what I consider to be a violation of the Constitution I have sworn to uphold. I must respectfully dissent.”

Refusing to sign order of execution for Jeffrey Wogensthal.

“And let’s be accurate here—we are not talking about a single railroad tie. That tie that crippled this child was part of an overall scheme of disposal of huge mounds of debris that the city had incredibly decided to place in the middle of a recreational park! Cover it with a light dressing of snow, and the perfect killing field was created.”

Dissent, Pauley v. Circleville, 2013-Ohio-4541 

“For offenders like [Travis] Blankenship, these [sex offender] registration requirements guarantee an unnecessarily long term of public humiliation only. And they effectively destroy any hope of leading a successful and productive life from that point forward.”

Dissent, State v. Blankenship, 2015-Ohio-4624.

“By contract, White Hat promised to safeguard and effectively utilize $90 million of public funds that were specifically set aside to educate the children of Ohio. And by contract, White Hat promised the children of Hope Academy that it, White Hat, would fulfill its fiduciary duty by providing a quality education for the sum of $90 million. The only part of that contract that was fulfilled was that White Hat thoroughly and efficiently received the $90 million. There has been no quality education, there has been no safeguarding of public funds, and there most certainly has been no benefit to the children…This is not an enforceable contract. It is a fraudulent conversion of public funds into personal profit. That is not the relationship that was bargained for, and it is not one that this court can magically create to protect the profits of White Hat.”

Dissent, Hope Academy Broadway Campus v. White Hat Mgt., L.L.C., 2015-Ohio-3716.

“The case before us demonstrates the money-driven efforts to return once again to the pre-Blankenship [v. Cincinnati Milacron Chemicals, Inc.] days, when profits were never placed in peril by the egregious acts of management.”

Dissent, Hoyle v. DTJ Ents., Inc., 2015-Ohio-843.

“Instead of affirming the Ninth District, this court goes to great lengths to preserve a void judgment. And in so doing, it undermines this court’s own rule in Schwartzwald and creates uncertainty in foreclosure cases that will operate in favor of careless banks while eroding the rule of law in Ohio. ”

Dissent, Bank of Am., N.A. v. Kuchta, 2014-Ohio-4275

“Taken to its logical conclusion, the majority decision implies that the contractor can take its profit from the venture, pull up stakes, and wish the subcontractor well as the subcontractor embarks on the task of wrestling with the owner over money owed on a contract to which the owner is not a party.”

Dissent, Transtar Elec., Inc. v. A.E.M. Elec. Servs. Corp.,2014-Ohio-3095.

“Clearly, while educating is a legitimate function of the state, competing with private hospitals is not. Providing universities and doctors who operate in university hospitals with an economic edge is contrary to precedent and not a function of the judiciary…I understand and embrace immunity for the purposes of training our doctors of the future.  That is a legitimate state activity. Creating an insurance-friendly environment in which for-profit corporations can find a safe haven is not.”

Dissent, Ries v. Ohio State Univ. Med. Ctr., 2013-Ohio-4545.


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