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Major Change to Franklin County, Ohio Eviction Process: Landlord Testimony Required

Although there is currently a nationwide temporary halt on all residential evictions through December 31, 2020, the eviction process in Franklin County – which processes the highest number of evictions in the State of Ohio at approximately 18,000 a year – recently changed significantly. On September 3, 2020, the Tenth District Court of Appeals issued a decision holding that landlords and property managers must provide live testimony, as opposed to an affidavit, in order to evict a tenant. T&R Properties, Inc. v. Wimberly, 10th Dist. Franklin No. 19AP-567, 2020-Ohio-4279. This decision comes after the August 2019 eviction of Traci Wiberly, who was evicted from her Canal Winchester Apartment following a hearing in which neither she nor her landlord were present. Judgment was granted in favor of the landlord based solely on an affidavit, with no live testimony presented by either party in court. 

This decision overruled the 32-year old precedent set forth in Oakbrook Realty Corp. v. Blout, which was long interpreted by the Franklin County Municipal Court to “grant judgment on a forcible entry and detainer claim relying solely on the statements contained in an affidavit without any testimony being offered in open court. Wimberly at ¶46 citing Oakbrook Realty Corp v. Blout, 48 Ohio App. 3d 69 (Ohio Ct. App. 1988). The Wimberly decision rewrites a longstanding policy in Franklin County Municipal Court eviction proceedings. Now, live testimony must be given by the landlord and/or property manager in open court in an eviction proceeding, unless an enumerated exception applies. See Wimberly at ¶37.

If you have questions or need more information regarding the potential impact of the Wimberly decision, please contact your primary BMD attorney.

BMD Appellate Win Clarifies Waiver of Contractual Right to Arbitrate

Brennan, Manna & Diamond, LLC attorneys David M. Scott, Lucas K. Palmer, and Krista D. Warren prevailed before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit regarding if/when a party waives a contractual right to arbitrate. Borror Property Management, LLC v. Oro Karric North, LLC, No. 20-3146 (the “Decision”).

Relief for Ohio Under the Federal American Rescue Plan Act

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (the “Act”) — a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package — a significant portion of which will be directed to the State of Ohio to support economic recovery, as outlined below.

Cleveland Manufacturer Violated OFAC Sanctions By Allowing Shipments To Iran - Know Your Customer and Know Their Customer

UniControl, Inc., a Cleveland, Ohio manufacturer of process controls, airflow pressure switches, boiler controls and other instruments, agreed to pay the Office of Foreign Assets Control “OFAC,” the financial enforcement agency of the U.S. Treasury Department, $216,464 to settle its liabilities for violations of the Iran Sanctions Program. OFAC stated that “this enforcement action highlights the importance of identifying and assessing multiple warning signs that indicate a foreign trade partner may be re-exporting goods to a sanctioned jurisdiction.”

Ohio Breach of Contract Statute of Limitations Shortened to 6 Years

On March 16, 2021, Governor DeWine signed into law S.B. 13 which shortens Ohio’s statute of limitations for filing lawsuits based on breach of contract. A statute of limitation is the time period within which a party must file a lawsuit before its claim expires as a matter of law.

Chinese Product Tariff Challenge Causes Flurry of Importer Lawsuits

A lawsuit filed late in 2020 at the U.S. Court of International Trade (“CIT”) challenging the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) implementation of Section 301 “List 3” and “List 4” duties on products from China, HMTX Industries LLC et al. v. United States (Court No. 20-00177), has resulted in the filing of thousands of additional lawsuits brought by other affected importers. There are now 3,700+ companies added to the list, including Ford, Home Depot, Target, Tesla, and Walgreens, along with many other smaller importers.