Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

City of Columbus v. Asomani

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

March 7, 2017

City of Columbus, Plaintiff-Appellee,
Eric Asomani, Defendant-Appellant.

         APPEAL from the Franklin County Municipal Court (M.C. No. 2015 ERB 073705)

         On brief:

          Richard C. Pfeiffer, Jr., City Attorney, and Orly Ahroni, for appellee.


          Orly Ahroni.

         On brief:

          Yeura R. Venters, Public Defender, and Timothy E. Pierce, for appellant.


          Timothy E. Pierce.


          SADLER, J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Eric Asomani, appeals from the judgment entry of the Franklin County Municipal Court finding appellant guilty of violating former Columbus General Code 590.02(a)(3) and sentencing him to a $100 fine plus court costs. For the following reasons, we affirm the trial court.


         {¶ 2} In July 2014, plaintiff-appellee, City of Columbus, enacted laws regulating peer-to-peer transportation network companies, such as Uber, including licensing requirements codified in Chapter 590 of the Columbus General Code. Pertinent to this appeal, Columbus General Code 590.02(a)(3) provided:

No person shall solicit, arrange, dispatch, drive, operate, or otherwise be in physical control of any peer-to-peer transportation network vehicle for the purpose of carrying passengers for hire, gift, donation, or other consideration unless:
* * *
The current decal issued by the License Section is clearly and properly displayed on the passenger side of the front and rear windshield of the approved vehicle.

         Under the penalties section of the law, Columbus General Code 599(a), a violation of Columbus General Code 590.02(a)(3), was classified as a misdemeanor of the first degree.

         {¶ 3} On September 16, 2015, a complaint was filed alleging that appellant violated Columbus General Code 590.02(a)(3). A second count of the complaint, which alleged that appellant violated Columbus General Code 590.11(B)(5) by soliciting passengers, is not at issue in this appeal.[1]

         {¶ 4} On December 22, 2015, the Ohio General Assembly enacted legislation regulating transportation network companies, stating that the regulation of such companies was a matter of general statewide interest that required statewide legislation. As such, the legislation stated an intent to preempt any local ordinance adopted to regulate transportation network companies. R.C. 4925.09(A)(1).

         {¶ 5} Before the statewide legislation took effect, Columbus City Council enacted legislation that repealed and replaced various sections of its code in order to bring the Columbus City Code in line with state legislation regulating transportation networks. The city utilized an emergency measure procedure that resulted in the city's legislation taking effect on the date of passage, January 25, 2016, rather than the normal effective date 30 days after the date of passage. As a consequence, Columbus General Code 590.02(a)(3) and 599(a) were repealed effective January 25, 2016, and no new legislation was enacted by the city to penalize the same conduct.

         {¶ 6} Appellant's case proceeded, and no motion or objection was put forward to the trial court to challenge his continued prosecution after the repeal of Columbus General Code 590.02(a)(3) and 599(a). After several continuances, a bench trial was ultimately held on March 7, 2016. At trial, in his opening statement, defense counsel mentioned that one "peripheral issue" is that "this law is no longer on the books. [J]ust done away with." (Tr. at 7.) Defense counsel did not make any corresponding objection or motion and did not otherwise frame an argument at any point during trial based on this statement.

         {¶ 7} Appellee then called its first and only witness, Jennifer Shicks, to testify on behalf of the prosecution. Shicks, a licensing officer with the City of Columbus Division of Public Safety Support Services, testified that on September 12, 2015, she was on duty "working the Ohio State football game for commercial sales enforcement, Uber enforcement and vehicle for hire taxi enforcement." (Tr. at 8.) She was wearing a city-issued sweatshirt with a city emblem and had a badge and ID card on a chain around her neck. According to Shicks, her attention was drawn to appellant because "[h]e had an Uber decal hanging from his rearview mirror, but did not have the city-issued decals that showed it was a licensed Uber in the front and rear passenger window on the passenger side." (Tr. at 10.) Shicks described a city-issued decal as a "four by four square, colored, " and described the conditions at the time as daylight with clear and dry weather. (Tr. at 10.)

         {¶ 8} According to Shicks, she approached appellant's vehicle and stood within two feet of the passenger side window. Appellant rolled the window down and asked if she needed a ride. She identified herself as an officer and asked to see his Uber ID card, which was visible inside of the vehicle. When appellant did not comply, Shicks attempted to retrieve the ID card, but, while her arm was still in the window, appellant drove away. The interaction took approximately 30 seconds. Later that day, Shicks and her partner, who was also present at the scene, were able to contact appellant through his license plate information.

         {¶ 9} The city rested its case, and appellant made a Crim.R. 29 motion asking the court to find the city presented insufficient evidence to prove the crimes as charged. The trial court denied ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.