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Case Update

Good news this week from the Ohio Supreme Court for insurance companies, parents, and Girl Scouts:  the Court ruled that off-road vehicles can be excluded from UM/UIM coverage, that parents can wait until their kids reach 18 before suing for loss of services and medical expenses if the child is injured, and that a Girl Scout store in North Canton was exempt from property taxation, even though they marked items up 20% to 30%.  Gosh, and here I thought they sold those cookies at cost... 

On to the courts of appeals:

Criminal.  8th District holds that defendant can be convicted of violating protective order, even if order is subsequently determined invalid... 2nd District holds that court's advising defendant he would have "up to" five years of post-release controls on 1st degree felony plea substantially complied with Rule 11, against defendant's claim that plea was invalid because he would have exactly five years of PRC... 8th District upholds trial court's conduct of hearing in chambers, without defendant present, on motion to suppress identification testimony... 9th District reverses trial court's denial of motion to vacate plea... 12th District holds that defendant's statements to children's service investigator admissible despite Miranda, because defendant wasn't in custody and investigator wasn't police agent...

Civil.  Person injured at hotel while visiting a tenant an invitee, not a licensee, 2nd District rules... 6th District holds that plaintiff collaterally estopped to assert defendant ran red light because of trial in traffic court that found plaintiff ran it... 8th District upholds trial court's refusal to enforce arbitration clause in residential construction contract... Defendant waived right to assert arbitration clause when it did not assert it in Answer, and waited until two months after scheduling conference to raise issue, says 12th District...

If you're one of those lawyers who comb the statutes and administrative codes looking for ways to sue companies for violating little-known regulations, you might want to take a cautionary look at the 1st District's decision last week in Burdge v. Supervalu HoldingsBurdge shopped at one of their stores -- which did business under the name "biggs Hypermarket" (and yes, that is a small "b," and no, I'm not making this up) -- used his credit card, and was chagrined to find that the store's receipt contained his credit card expiration date, in violation of RC 1349.18, Ohio's credit-card-truncation statute.  (No, I'm not making that up, either.)

Burdge was so outraged by this violation of the law that he shopped there another dozen times, paying by credit card each time, before suing them.  The trial court threw out the case, ruling that since the statute specifically required proof of actual injury and Burdge had none, he had no claim.

It gets better.  Not only did the appeals court affirm the judgment, but it cited the numerous cases where Burdge and his counsel had tried to pull the same routine, and hit them both up for close to $3,000 in sanctions for filing a frivolous appeal.

And it gets even better.  The first time Burdge and his lawyer ran the scheme, against a movie theater, the lawyer negotiated a $2,500 settlement.  Because he got the check two days late, the lawyer labeled this a breach of the agreement and demanded twice as much.  The defendant told him to pound salt, and the trial court threw out the case altogether, which the court of appeals affirmed.

Methinks it's time for that lawyer to get a new client.

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