Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
STATE OF OHIO, EX REL. NOVAK, PAVLIK, DELIBERATO, L.L.P., ET AL. RELATORS
JUDGE DICK AMBROSE RESPONDENT
of Prohibition Motion No. 517371 Order No. 518447
ATTORNEYS FOR RELATORS For Novak, Pavlik, Deliberato, L.L.P.
William J. Novak Novak, L.L.P., For Matthew D. Deliberato
Colin P. Sammon Ritzler, Coughlin & Paglia
ATTORNEYS FOR RESPONDENT Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga
County Prosecutor By: Charles E. Hannan Assistant County
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
C. GALLAGHER, J.
Relators, the law firm of Novak L.L.P., formerly known as
Novak, Pavlik, Deliberato, L.L.P., William J. Novak, Thomas
C. Pavlik, and Matthew D. Deliberato, seek a writ of
prohibition to stop respondent judge from exercising
jurisdiction over the individual defendants in PSIC v.
Novak, L.L.P., Cuyahoga C.P. No. CV-16-867801. We grant
respondent judge's motion for summary judgment and deny
The underlying common pleas court case involves a dispute
between a law firm and its malpractice insurance provider
over the payment of a $10, 000 deductible. The genesis of the
dispute lies in an insurance claim paid by the company on
behalf of the law firm. The law firm failed to pay the $10,
000 deductible set forth in the policy for such a claim. As a
result, the insurance company, in order to resolve the matter
and pursuant to express policy terms, paid the deductible
amount, and then sued the firm and its attorneys to collect
The collection case spanned the better part of two years
without resolution. A jury found in favor of the insurance
company and awarded the insurance company $10, 000 for the
deductible, plus $103, 479 in collection expenses. The
respondent judge entered a judgment against the law firm with
those terms on March 1, 2018.
At the conclusion of this case, relators filed the instant
action to prohibit respondent judge from continuing to
exercise jurisdiction over the individual attorneys involved
in the case.
FOR A WRIT OF PROHIBITION
In order to demonstrate entitlement to a writ of prohibition,
one must show: (1) the respondent against whom it is sought
is about to exercise judicial power, (2) the exercise of such
power is unauthorized by law, and (3) there is no adequate
remedy at law. State ex rel Largent v. Fisher, 43
Ohio St.3d 160, 540 N.E.2d 239 (1989). "The writ will
not issue to prevent an erroneous judgment, or to serve the
purpose of appeal, or to correct mistakes of the lower court
in deciding questions within its jurisdiction."
State ex rel Sparto v. Juvenile Court of Darke Cty.,
153 Ohio St. 64, 65, 90 N.E.2d 598 (1950).
Courts must not issue such a writ in a doubtful case.
State ex rel Merion v. Court of Common Pleas, 137
Ohio St. 273, 28 N.E.2d 641 (1940). However, when it is clear
that a court patently and unambiguously is without
jurisdiction to act whatsoever, a writ should issue without
regard to whether an alternative adequate remedy exists.
State ex rel Tilford v. Crush, 39 Ohio St.3d 174,
529 N.E.2d 1245 (1988). We view these guideposts through the
lense of the summary judgment standard set forth in Civ.R.
There is no dispute that respondent judge is exercisng
judicial power. The dispute centers on whether that exercise
of power is unauthorized by law. Relators argue that
respondent judge patently and unambiguously lacks
jurisdiction. This argument is built around the presumption
that sections of the Ohio Uniform Partnership Act, codified
in R.C. 1776.01 et seq., precludes individual liability for