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State ex rel. Allen v. Village of Walton Hills

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

January 18, 2018

STATE OF OHIO, EX REL. WILLIAM L. ALLEN RELATOR-APPELLANT
v.
VILLAGE OF WALTON HILLS RESPONDENT-APPELLEE

         Civil Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CV-14-830174

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Alyssa M. Allen

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE James A. Climer Jeffrey T. Kay Frank Scialdone Mazanec, Raskin & Ryder Co. L.P.A.

          BEFORE: McCormack, E.A. Gallagher, A.J., and Celebrezze, J.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          TIM McCORMACK, J.

         {¶1} In this taxpayer action, relator-appellant William Allen ("Allen") appeals from the decision of the trial court granting summary judgment for the respondents-appellees. For the reasons that follow, we reverse.

         Procedural and Substantive History

         {¶2} On July 23, 2014, Allen filed a complaint for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief against the village of Walton Hills ("the Village"), six individuals in their capacity as Walton Hills council members, and Kevin Hurst ("Hurst") in his capacity as mayor of Walton Hills.

         {¶3} The underlying action surrounds two village ordinances related to compensating the mayor when he or she serves as a magistrate for the mayor's court of Walton Hills. On February 19, 2002, the Village passed an ordinance, codified as Walton Hills Code § 290.01, which established the part-time position of magistrate of mayor's court of Walton Hills. The ordinance stated that the mayor would receive no additional compensation for officiating at mayor's court, and further stated that if the Village hired a qualified magistrate, he or she would be compensated $295 for each regular session of mayor's court.

         {¶4} On July 25, 2011, the Village passed Ordinance 2011-18, codified as Walton Hills Code § 230.031, which changed the rate of pay for a mayor's court magistrate and authorized compensation of $400 per regular session to the mayor for officiating at mayor's court. Walton Hills Code § 290.01 was not repealed. On November 8, 2011, Hurst was elected as mayor of Walton Hills.

         {¶5} In 2014, the state auditor's office notified the Village of the conflicting ordinances. In response, the Village passed another ordinance, amending § 290.01 to remove the language precluding compensating the mayor for presiding over the mayor's court. This new ordinance did not apply retroactively. Because the new ordinance was not retroactive, Allen argues that all compensation paid to Hurst during the period of conflict was improper.

         {¶6} Allen's complaint sought a declaratory judgment stating that Village Ordinance 2011-18 was illegally enacted. The complaint also requested that Hurst reimburse the Village for the compensation he received for presiding over the mayor's court.

         {¶7} On May 11, 2015, the Village filed a motion for summary judgment in which it asserted that the action was time-barred by the statute of limitations under R.C. 733.60.

         {¶8} On March 1, 2017, the trial court granted the Village's motion for summary ...


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