Lima v. State

Citation177 Ohio App.3d 744,896 N.E.2d 149,2007 Ohio 6419
Decision Date03 December 2007
Docket NumberNo. 1-07-21.,1-07-21.
PartiesCITY OF LIMA, Appellant, v. The STATE of Ohio, Appellee.
CourtUnited States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
896 N.E.2d 149
177 Ohio App.3d 744
CITY OF LIMA, Appellant,
The STATE of Ohio, Appellee.
No. 1-07-21.
Court of Appeals of Ohio, Third District, Allen County.
Decided December 3, 2007.

[896 N.E.2d 151]

Anthony L. Geiger, City Law Director, for appellant.

Frank M. Strigari, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.


177 Ohio App.3d 747
I. Factual Background

{¶ 1} Plaintiff-appellant, the city of Lima, appeals the Allen County Court of Common Pleas grant of summary judgment in favor of defendant-appellee, the state of Ohio.1 Since the trial court erred in finding that R.C. 9.481 was validly enacted pursuant to Section 34, Article II of the Ohio Constitution and meets the test of Canton v. State, 95 Ohio St.3d 149, 2002-Ohio-2005, 766 N.E.2d 963, we reverse and remand for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.

{¶ 2} On November 2, 1920, Lima voters adopted a city charter pursuant to Section 3, Article XVIII of the Ohio Constitution. In 1974, section 72 of the Lima City Charter was amended to permit Lima City Council to determine by ordinance whether to establish a residency requirement for city employees.

{¶ 3} On October 23, 2000, Lima City Council passed Ordinance 201-00 pursuant to section 72 of the Lima City Charter, which "established a requirement for persons appointed by the Mayor as employees of the city on or after the date of passage of this ordinance, that as a condition of employment with the city all such employees shall live in a primary permanent residency within the corporate boundaries of the municipality."

177 Ohio App.3d 748

{¶ 4} On May 1, 2006, the General Assembly enacted R.C. 9.481 pursuant to Section 34, Article II of the Ohio Constitution (hereinafter "Section 34"), which, except in specified circumstances, limited the ability of political subdivisions throughout Ohio to condition employment upon residency.

{¶ 5} On May 22, 2006, Lima filed an action for declaratory judgment and injunctive

896 N.E.2d 152

relief in the Allen County Court of Common Pleas against the state arguing that R.C. 9.481 is unconstitutional on several grounds. Cross-motions for summary judgment were filed on December 15, 2006, with both parties responding on January 12, 2007.

{¶ 6} On February 16, 2007, the trial court granted the state's motion for summary judgment upholding the constitutionality of R.C. 9.481 and denied Lima's motion for summary judgment. On April 19, 2007, Lima appealed the trial court's grant of summary judgment to this court, asserting three assignments of error.

II. Standard of Review

{¶ 7} We review a grant of summary judgment de novo. Sharonville v. Am. Employers Ins. Co., 109 Ohio St.3d 186, 2006-Ohio-2180, 846 N.E.2d 833, ¶ 5, citing Comer v. Risko, 106 Ohio St.3d 185, 2005-Ohio-4559, 833 N.E.2d 712, ¶ 8. Summary judgment is appropriate when "(1) there is no genuine issue of material fact; (2) the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law; and (3) it appears from the evidence that reasonable minds can come to but one conclusion when viewing the evidence in favor of the nonmoving party, and that conclusion is adverse to the nonmoving party." Grafton v. Ohio Edison Co. (1996), 77 Ohio St.3d 102, 105, 671 N.E.2d 241, citing State ex rel. Cassels v. Dayton City School Dist. Bd. of Edn. (1994), 69 Ohio St.3d 217, 219, 631 N.E.2d 150; Civ.R. 56(C).

{¶ 8} Whether a statute is constitutional is a question of law reviewed de novo. Wilson v. AC&S, Inc., 169 Ohio App.3d 720, 2006-Ohio-6704, 864 N.E.2d 682, ¶ 61; Akron v. Callaway, 162 Ohio App.3d 781, 2005-Ohio-4095, 835 N.E.2d 736, ¶ 23. De novo review is independent and without deference to the trial courts determination. Wilson, 169 Ohio App.3d 720, 2006-Ohio-6704, 864 N.E.2d 682, at ¶61. "[A]ll statutes are presumed constitutional, and the party challenging [has] the burden of proving otherwise" beyond a reasonable doubt. State v. Boczar, 113 Ohio St.3d 148, 2007-Ohio-1251, 863 N.E.2d 155, ¶ 9, citing Arnold v. Cleveland (1993), 67 Ohio St.3d 35, 38-39, 616 N.E.2d 163; State ex rel. Jackman v. Cuyahoga Cty. Court of Common Pleas (1967), 9 Ohio St.2d 159, 38 O.O.2d 404, 224 N.E.2d 906, 908-909 ("[W]hen an enactment of the General Assembly is challenged, the challenger must overcome a strong presumption of constitutionality"). All presumptions and applicable rules of statutory construction are applied to uphold a statute from constitutional attack. State v. Dorso (1983), 4 Ohio St.3d

177 Ohio App.3d 749

60, 61, 4 OBR 150, 446 N.E.2d 449; State v. Stambaugh (1987), 34 Ohio St.3d 34, 35, 517 N.E.2d 526.

{¶ 9} "[I]t is not the function of a reviewing court to assess the wisdom or policy of a statute but, rather, to determine whether the General Assembly acted within its legislative power." Austintown Twp. Bd. of Trustees v. Tracy (1996), 76 Ohio St.3d 353, 356, 667 N.E.2d 1174, citing State ex rel. Bishop v. Mt. Orab Village Bd. of Edn. (1942), 139 Ohio St. 427, 438, 22 O.O. 494, 40 N.E.2d 913; Primes v. Tyler (1975), 43 Ohio St.2d 195, 72 O.O.2d 112, 331 N.E.2d 723.

{¶ 10} "The courts must declare the sense of the law; and if they should be disposed to exercise will instead of judgment, the consequence would equally be the substitution of their pleasure to that of the legislative body." The Federalist No. 78 (Alexander Hamilton) (Clinton Rossiter Ed.1961) 468-469. "The principle that courts are not the creators of public policy and should not decide cases based on disagreement with a legislature has guided courts since the creation of the American

896 N.E.2d 153

judicial system." Holeton v. Crouse Cartage Co. (1992), 92 Ohio St.3d 115, 135, 748 N.E.2d 1111 (Moyer, C.J., dissenting).

III. Trial Court's Ruling

{¶ 11} Although we review constitutional questions de novo, for clarification purposes and an otherwise thorough review we set forth the essential findings of the trial court.

{¶ 12} This appeal follows the Allen County Court of Common Pleas grant of summary judgment in favor of the state of Ohio. The trial court set forth the following issue for its review:

[W]hether * * * O.R.C. 9.481 as enacted by the General Assembly which provides employees of Ohio's political subdivisions with freedom to choose where they want to live, is unconstitutional because it conflicts with Section 3, Article XVIII of the Ohio Constitution * * *

Lima v. Ohio (Feb. 15, 2007), Allen C.P. No. CV2006-0518, at 4. The trial court first considered the relevance of the Canton test and a traditional home-rule analysis. Id. at 6. The trial court concluded that laws validly passed pursuant to Section 34, Article II of the Ohio Constitution cannot be impaired by the Home Rule Amendment; and therefore, a traditional home-rule analysis was unnecessary. Id. at 10, citing Rocky River v. State Emp. Relations Bd. (1989), 43 Ohio St.3d 1, 539 N.E.2d 103.

{¶ 13} The trial court then concluded that R.C. 9.481 was validly enacted pursuant to Section 34. The trial court decided that Lima's residency requirement is a condition of employment. Id. at 11, citing St. Bernard v. State Emp. Relations Bd. (1991), 74 Ohio App.3d 3, 6, 598 N.E.2d 15. As a condition of

177 Ohio App.3d 750

employment, the trial court reasoned, R.C. 9.481's regulation of residency requirements concerned the general welfare of public employees; and therefore, the law was validly enacted pursuant to Section 34. Id.

{¶ 14} After it concluded that R.C. 9.481 was validly enacted pursuant to Section 34 and superseded the Home Rule Amendment, the trial court examined R.C. 9.481 under the traditional Canton home-rule analysis in the alternative.

{¶ 15} Prior to conducting a Canton analysis, the trial court found that residency requirements are an issue of statewide concern due to the extraterritorial effects that such requirements have on other Ohio communities. Id. at 12. The court then concluded that since residency requirements are a matter of state-wide concern, the state's power to regulate superseded the municipality's right to home rule. Id. at 12-13, citing Cleveland Elec. Illum. Co. v. Painesville (1968), 15 Ohio St.2d 125, 129, 44 O.O.2d 121, 239 N.E.2d 75; Uniformed Firefighters Assn. v. New York (1980), 50 N.Y.2d 85, 428 N.Y.S.2d 197, 405 N.E.2d 679.

{¶ 16} Finally, the trial court concluded that even if it applied the Canton test, the state of Ohio still prevailed. Id. at 13. Applying the four-part Canton test, the trial court reached the following conclusions:

1. Generally permitting employees of political subdivisions through [sic] the State of Ohio to live where they choose to live while providing political subdivisions with a process for enacting specific exceptions, constitutes a statewide and comprehensive legislative enactment in and of itself.

2. O.R.C. 9.481 operates uniformly throughout the State of Ohio because the statute applies across the State to all included within the statute's operative provisions.

3. Subject of providing employees of political subdivisions throughout the State of Ohio with the freedom to choose

896 N.E.2d 154

where they want to live is of a general nature for all of these employees. Specifically, the law's subject not only affects employees of the City of Lima by providing them with the freedom to choose where they want to live, but it also affects employees of every other political subdivision within the State of Ohio in the same manner.

4. O.R.C. 9.481 qualifies as an exercise of police power. State's police power embraces regulations designed to promote public convenience or the general prosperity or welfare, as well as those specifically intended to promote the public safety or public health. (Quoted from Wessel[l] v. Timberlake (1916), 95 Ohio St. 21, 34 [116 N.E. 43])

5. O.R.C. 9.481 proscribes a rule of conduct on citizens generally. As noted by the State, the statute applies to political subdivisions, but "the practical effect of the legislation and common sense...

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4 cases
  • Lima v. State, 2008-0128.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Ohio
    • June 10, 2009
    ...employees' working environment, and therefore it could not have been enacted pursuant to Section 34, Article II. Lima v. State, 177 Ohio App.3d 744, 2007-Ohio-6419, 896 N.E.2d 149, ¶ 61. Thus, the statute cannot prevail over the home-rule provisions of the Constitution. Because R.C. 9.481 i......
  • Youngstown v. State, 2009 Ohio 5679 (Ohio App. 9/9/2009), 07-MA-223.
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • September 9, 2009
    ...authority to "exercise all powers of local self-government" under Section 3, Article XVIII of the Ohio Constitution. Lima v. State, 177 Ohio App.3d 744, 2007-Ohio-6419, 896 N.E.2d 149 (3d Dist.); Akron v. State, 9th Dist. No. 23660, 2008-Ohio-38. During the pendency of this appeal, the Page......
  • State v. Love, 2009 Ohio 1079 (Ohio App. 3/13/2009), Appeal No. C-070782.
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • March 13, 2009
    ...2903.02(A) and 2923.02(A). 12. 1st Dist. No. C-080162, 2008-Ohio-6906. 13. Id. at ¶24. 14. Id. 15. 119 Ohio St.3d 447, 2008-Ohio-4569, 896 N.E.2d 149. 16. Id. at 17. Id., citing State v. Mitchell, (1983), 6 Ohio St.3d 416, 419, 453 N.E.2d 593. 18. Brown, supra, at ¶39. 19. Id. at ¶41. 20. S......
  • Lima v. State, 2008-0128.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Ohio
    • January 16, 2009
    ...120 Ohio St.3d 1468-1481 2009-Ohio-145 Lima v. State. No. 2008-0128. Supreme Court of Ohio. January 16, 2009. Allen App. No. 1-07-21, 177 Ohio App.3d 744, This cause is pending before the court as an appeal from the Court of Appeals for Allen County. Upon consideration of the motion of amic......

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