TCPA

On January 3, 2017, a federal court granted The Law Firm of Sadlowski & Besse L.L.C. attorney’s fees and costs, and entered judgment against a debt collector based on claims brought under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The case is captioned as Ramsey v. Int'l Computer Sys., et al., Case No. 1:16-cv-745, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 289 (S.D. Ohio).

These laws provide consumers with certain protections against the conduct of... banks, creditors, and debt collectors. Under the TCPA, a bank or debt collector must cease using an automated calling system to call a consumer’s cell phone once instructed by the consumer to “stop the calls.” Often, debt collectors will continue to call consumers several times a day, totaling hundreds of unlawful calls. Under the TCPA, a consumer may be entitled up to $1,500.00 in damages for *each* unlawful call made to their cell phone.

Have you been asking yourself, “how much is hiring a lawyer going to cost me?” We understand – when you’re pursuing a lawsuit, you’re likely not able to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to have an attorney represent you. That’s why we will work based on a contingency fee, which means that our firm does not get paid unless you are granted monetary compensation.

To stop debt collectors and unwanted automated calls, contact the attorneys at The Law Firm of Sadlowski & Besse L.L.C.

**Please consult an attorney for advice about your individual situation. This post and its information is not legal advice, nor is it intended to be.**

Tenant

Yesterday, the Clermont County Municipal Court issued a favorable judgment to one of the firm’s clients after a bench trial regarding the matter.  The case arose after the firm’s client, a tenant, (Tenant) moved her business out of a commercial property at the termination of her lease, which occurred shortly after a new buyer (Buyer) purchased the property from the owner.  The Buyer alleged Tenant did significant damage to the hardwood floors when she removed the furniture, damaged a wall when she removed a business sign, and also removed fixtures (custom lightbulbs) throughout the building.  The Buyer asked the Court for approximately $10,000 in damages to repair the hardwood floors, repair and repaint all the walls in the building, repayment for the removed fixtures, and for loss of use, plus attorney’s fees.

Tenant admitted to damaging one of the walls when removing a business sign, and to removing lightbulbs from the property, but denied causing the damage to the floors.  The evidence established there was significant damage to the floor prior to the purchase of the property, which Tenant covered using various rugs.  The evidence also showed the Buyer failed to properly inspect the property prior to purchasing from the former owner.  The Court agreed with the Tenant, finding that, prior to purchasing, the Buyer waived formal inspection, and instead inspected the property himself.  The facts revealed the Buyer failed to lift any of the numerous rugs during his personal inspection, which would have revealed the significant damage to the hardwood floor that existed prior to purchasing.

Citing the doctrine of caveat emptor (buyer beware), the Court refused to award damages relating to the hardwood floors, and for loss of use that allegedly resulted from the damage.  The Court also found Buyer was not entitled to costs for repairing and repainting all of the walls on the property due to Tenant’s damage to only a single wall.  Ultimately, the Court awarded the Buyer $380 in damages for repairing and repainting one wall, and removal of the custom lightbulbs from the property.  The Court did not awarded Buyer his attorney’s fees.

Motion to Dismiss

This afternoon, the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas heard oral argument on a motion filed by a Defendant asking the Court to dismiss a Complaint the firm filed on behalf of one of its clients.  The Defendant argued the Court did not have personal jurisdiction over Defendant, it was unconstitutional to make the Defendant litigate in Ohio, and an Ohio forum was inconvenient to Defendant.  The firm prevailed, and thus, the Court denied the Defendant's motion to dismiss.

Our client, an Ohio resident (Plaintiff), filed a Complaint against Defendant, an Illinois Corporation, alleging Defendant failed to pay Plaintiff commissions owed for sales Plaintiff solicited on behalf of Defendant in multiple states, including Ohio.  Defendant argued since it had no business address, no agent, and no property in Ohio; and was not registered to do business in Ohio, then it had not made sufficient contacts with Ohio to be expected to be sued there.  Defendant contended if it were to be sued, the Plaintiff would have to sue Defendant in Illinois.

The firm cited to the Court a provision of Ohio's long-arm statute which specifically gave the Court personal jurisdiction over Plaintiff's claims because the Defendant hired Plaintiff to solicit sales in Ohio on its behalf, and paid him in whole or part by commissions.  The firm further argued it was reasonably anticipated that Defendant would be hauled into Court in Ohio because, based upon its business relationship with an Ohio resident, it should have readily ascertained breaching an agreement with an Ohio resident for payment of commissions would result in legal consequences in Ohio.  The firm also argued forcing Plaintiff to litigate in Illinois merely shifted the geographical inconvenience from Defendant to Plaintiff.

The Court agreed with Plaintiff's position, and denied the Defendant's motion to dismiss in its entirety.  Plaintiff will be able to proceed with litigating his claims in Ohio, which likely will save Plaintiff significant time and economic resources compared to being forced to litigate in Illinois.

Employment Case

Employment LawToday, the Warren County Court of Common Pleas granted a motion the firm filed on behalf of its client, the former Chief of Police for the Village of Maineville, requesting an evidentiary hearing relating to the Village Council's decision to remove him as chief of police for the Village.

The Village Council for Maineville voted to involuntarily remove the police chief from his position in November 2016.  After he was removed, our firm filed an appeal to the Common Pleas Court... opposing the Village Council's decision as being incorrect on the basis of both the law and the facts.  The firm also requested an evidentiary hearing so the former chief of police would be able to make a factual showing his removal was improper.

The Village opposed the motion, arguing the former police chief was not entitled to a hearing relating to its decision to remove him, and the Court of Common Pleas should decide the issue based solely on the evidence the Village Council submitted to the Court in reliance for its decision.

The Court disagreed with the Village's contention, and now the former chief of police will be afforded the opportunity to present testimony and evidence to the Court demonstrating that the Village Council's decision to remove him from his position was arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable, or unsupported by the preponderance of substantial, reliable and probative evidence.

Ohio law provides certain public officials procedural safeguards relating to attempts to remove them from their position.  If you are a public official, Sadlowski & Besse L.L.C. may be able to assist you in determining what legal rights you have under Ohio law.

**This post does not constitute legal advice, nor is intended to be.  Please contact an attorney regarding your individual situation.**