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When City's Land Improvement Affects Your Easement

Tue, 07/08/2014

State ex rel. Wasserman v. City of Fremont: Since 1915, the Wasserman farm property has had an easement with the City on which a drainage system was established so that the Wasserman land could avoid flooding. Over the years the property has flooded multiple times and the Wassermans have accessed the easement land and made modifications to the drainage system. In 2009 the City redid the entire system, redirecting the water drainage, and switching the system type being used. The Wassermans filed a takings claim on the basis that the City violated the terms of their easement.


The Supreme Court of Ohio ruled in favor of the City. The Court approached the problem as though the suit was between two individuals, instead of an individual and a government party. Through this approach, the Court found that since the land was owned by the city, the city’s actions and development choices does not violate the easement. As a result, the changes made to the drainage system is not a taking. When working with an easement, both parties need to understand the clear details of the agreement as well as acknowledge who has primary ownership over the land in question.

Read the full decision here

Do Curfews Violate Freedom of Speech?

Wed, 05/28/2014

City of Cleveland v. McCardle: McCardle, a participant in the Occupy Cleveland Movement, was arrested for being in violation of a curfew law because she was in the Public Square after hours without a city-approved permit. McCardle filed a motion to dismiss the accusations on the ground that the curfew violated her 1st and 14th Amendment rights. The District Court ruled to grant the motion to dismiss.


The Supreme Court of Ohio reversed the decision of the lower court and ruled in favor of the City of Cleveland. The Court stated that the curfew serves a legitimate government interest and is in accordance with law established by the State Constitution. The curfew does not violate the rights of the defendant because the individual is allowed alternative channels of speech such as protesting outside of the boundaries of the Public Square.

Read the full decision here

Election Board Told to be More Lenient and Open with Candidate Requirements

Mon, 04/21/2014

State ex rel. Scott v. Franklin County Board of Elections: In order to be on the ballot for public officer, a candidate must submit 5 signatures of supporting voters with the registration paperwork. Scott submitted 9 signatures, the majority of which were deemed invalid because they did not meet necessary criteria. Scott filed a complaint against the Board on the grounds that he deserves to be on the ballot. The lower court denied his writ of mandamus.


The Supreme Court of Ohio reversed the ruling of the lower court and ordered the Board to place Scott’s name on the ballot. The Court ruled that the Board abused its discretion by holding the signatures up to “unfair and undisclosed” criteria.

Read the full decision here