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Weekly roundup

The Ohio Supreme Court handed down a couple of decisions yesterday, one holding that a plaintiff can recover noneconomic damages, such as stress, in actions under the Consumer Sales Practices Act.  The defendant was an auto dealership -- now there's a surprise -- which wound up getting socked with a jury verdict of $315,000 for hosing a customer on a financing deal.  The company had turned down an early demand of $4,500, and the owner was quoted as saying, "If I'd known it was going to come to this, I would have settled it for that."  Yeah, I guess so.  Boo hoo.

The other case involved a question of whether a statement to a nurse in a rape case was testimonial, and thus barred by the Crawford decision.  (I've had a number of posts on Crawford, and you can read a couple of them here.)  The victim had died after giving the statement, and the court upheld the admissibility of the nurse's statement by a 4-3 vote.  I'll have more on that next week.

On to the appellate courts. 

8th District holds that trial court not required to advise defendant of affirmative defenses for guilty plea to be valid... Oddity from the 10th District:  it affirms the trial court's decision refusing to classify defendant as a sexual predator... 3rd District vacates 180-day jail sentence on DUI because record didn't show defendant properly waived counsel, lets remainder of sentence stand...

8th District reiterates that grand jury indictment creates rebuttable presumption of probable cause in defense to malicious prosecution suit... 10th District finds that defendant didn't breach lease by not fulfilling "hypertechnical" notice requirements of non-renewal clause where landlord had actual notice that defendant intended to leave... 9th District holds that surviving stepparent can pursue visitation even after remarriage... 11th District finds error in court awarding spousal support where wife withdrew her claim to it at trial... Good case from the 4th District on when counsel can be disqualified because they might be called as witnesses at trial...

Interesting procedural point from the 8th District last week.  You file a complaint naming several John Does, and the court grants summary judgment in less than a year after you file.  You can't appeal from that unless you get the 54(B) final order determination from the trial court, because the John Does are still parties.  You can avoid that by voluntarily dismissing them out at that point, but if you don't do that or get the 54(B) determination, the appeals court will dismiss the appeal.  That may put you in a real bind:  at the end of the year, the John Does drop are no longer defendants because you haven't gotten service on them, but by that time you may be more than 30 days beyond the ruling on the summary judgment.  Does your appeal time run from the ruling, or from the end of the one-year period?  The court doesn't say.

And last, there's a 5th District decision on what's necessary to prove a claim for sexual harassment, which included a reference to a case which held that a "manager's multiple comments over six months and unwelcome reaching inside employee's blouse was not severe and pervasive enough to constitute sexual harassment."

Whew.

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