On Tuesday, January 10, 2023, the Supreme Court of Ohio issued a Slip Opinion granting a Writ of Prohibition ordering John O’Donnell, judge of the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, to stop exercising jurisdiction over an underlying case. Moreover, the Court granted a Writ of Mandamus ordering Judge O’Donnell to dismiss the underlying case for lack of jurisdiction.

The Respondent handled a case that included the City of Cleveland and the city of Parma versus the Bureau of worker’s Compensation alleging that the latter’s premium-calculation method had resulted in excessive premium charges for non-group-rated employers. Judge O’ Donell dismissed Parma’s action for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. After the refiling of the latter, the respondent then denied the Bureau’s motion to dismiss Parma’s complaint. The Slip Opinion determined whether or not the Bureau is entitled to a Writ of Prohibition.

The filing states:

“To be entitled to a writ of prohibition, the bureau must establish that (1) Judge O’Donnell has exercised judicial power, (2) the exercise of that power is unauthorized by law and (3) denying the writ would result in injury for which no another adequate remedy exists in the ordinary course of law.”

The filing continues:

“Parma highlights the fact that it instituted the underlying case as a class action. Parma argues that because a party in a class action may assert claims for declaratory and injunctive relief, the underlying case should be permitted to proceed before Judge O’Donnell in common pleas court. But we have no license to ignore the terms of the Court of Claims Act based on class-action considerations.

In summary, the bureau is entitled to a writ of prohibition because Judge O’Donnell patently and unambiguously lacks jurisdiction over the underlying case.”

The filing further states:

“We next turn to the bureau’s mandamus claim. To be entitled to a writ of mandamus, the bureau must show (1) a clear legal right to the requested relief, (2) a clear legal duty on the part of Judge O’Donnell to provide it, and (3) the lack of an adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.

In Sapp, we concluded that because the court of appeals patently and unambiguously lacked jurisdiction over an appeal, the relator was entitled to both a peremptory writ of prohibition preventing the court from proceeding over the appeal and a peremptory writ of mandamus compelling the court to dismiss the appeal. Id. at ¶ 32. Applying that logic here, we grant a writ of mandamus ordering Judge O’Donnell to dismiss the underlying case. Judge O’Donnell’s contrary argument, that mandamus cannot lie because the bureau has an adequate remedy by way of appeal, is foreclosed.”

In an analysis of the case and considering all the factual allegations, the court granted a Writ of Prohibition.

The Disposition states:

“For the foregoing reasons, we grant a writ of prohibition ordering Judge O’Donnell to stop exercising jurisdiction over the underlying case, and we grant a writ of mandamus ordering Judge O’Donnell to dismiss the underlying case for lack of jurisdiction”

Judge O’Donnell attended the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, graduating in 1987.

Judge O’Donnell’s courtroom is located at 1200 Ontario Street Cleveland, Ohio, and can be reached at (216) 443-8560. His info can be found on ballotpedia.org.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.