Statute of Repose--Supreme Court Decision: The decision could have significant impact limiting liability exposure to design professionals in Ohio. Click Here for Statute of Repose Information.
ACEC Ohio Indemnification Bill Introduced:
Representative Bill Blessing has introduced House Bill 159, a piece of legislation which would regulate the use of indemnity provisions in contracts related to public improvements. Many of our member firms have been confronted with having to sign a contract with a state or local agency that included uninsurable “broad form” indemnification and/or defense requirements.
As a matter of fairness, design professionals should not be asked to indemnify and/or defend another party for losses that the designer did not cause, cannot insure against and were caused by factors beyond the designer’s control. House Bill 159 will prohibit requiring design professionals to indemnify public agencies for claims that are not attributable to negligent, reckless or intentional wrongful conduct on the part of the design professional.
The bill is being heard in the Ohio House Civil Justice Committee. For additional information:
Fix our Roads Ohio (FOR OHIO) Coalition and HB 62:
- ACEC Ohio Support Statement
- Legislative Example letter 2.25.19
- ODOT Testimony HB 62 2.21.19
- HB 62 talking points 3.1.19
- ODOT Budget Information Page
Residency Bill (HB 180) update:
In a decision that was issued in a comparatively short time period, the Eighth Appellate District Court of Appeals' in Cuyahoga County affirmed the trial court's decision that the Local Hire law passed by the Ohio legislature and signed into law by the Governor, R.C. 9.75, is a not a valid exercise of the legislature' constitutional authority, and that the statute unconstitutionally infringes on the city's Home-Rule authority. Click Here for Court Opinion
The Court of Appeals found that Art. II, Section 34 of the Ohio Constitution which the legislature relied upon in enacting R.C. 9.75, does not reach Cleveland's Fannie Lewis law. According to the Court, R.C. 9.75 does not relate to any residency requirement imposed as a condition of employment by employers upon public employees. The Appeals Court did not find that R.C. 9.75 relates to the right of a person to choose where to live and that the statute does not relate to the comfort, health, safety or general welfare of the contractors.
The Court of Appeals said:
"It is readily apparent that R.C. 9.75 is no more than an attempt to preempt powers of local self-government and to restrict the contract terms between public authorities and contractors who choose to bid on local public improvement contracts. H.B. 180 was not advanced by a labor or worker group. It was advanced by a contractor association, not for the benefit of workers, but to benefit their interests. The contractors' interest is in streamlining interactions with municipalities by limiting the ability of municipal governments to place terms or requirements on public contracts that are awarded within those municipal jurisdictions."
Status: The State of Ohio, Attorney General's office filed an appeal to this decision to the Supreme Court and on Wednesday May 9th, the Supreme Court accepted the appeal, ordered the record certified, and interested party briefing will follow.
The appeal is still pending. Appellee City of Cleveland and a few amici filed merit briefs on 08/20/18 and Appellant State of Ohio filed a motion for an extension of time to file its Reply Brief to 10/01/18, which was granted. ACEC Ohio filed a reply brief on 10/1/18. Oral argument is scheduled for Wednesday, March 6, 2019, a decision will not be issued for several weeks/months afterwards.