State ex rel. Ohio Civil Serv. Emps. Ass'n v. State

CourtUnited States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
Citation2 N.E.3d 304
Docket NumberNo. 12AP–1064.,12AP–1064.
PartiesSTATE EX REL. OHIO CIVIL SERVICE EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION et al., Plaintiffs–Relators–Appellants, v. STATE of Ohio c/o Mike DeWine et al., Defendants–Respondents–Appellees.
Decision Date10 October 2013

2 N.E.3d 304

STATE of Ohio c/o Mike DeWine et al., Defendants–Respondents–Appellees.

No. 12AP–1064.

Court of Appeals of Ohio,
Tenth District, Franklin County.

Oct. 10, 2013.

Validity Called into Doubt

R.C. §§ 9.06, 750.10,

[2 N.E.3d 308]

James E. Melle, for appellants.

Michael DeWine, Attorney General, Richard N. Coglianese and Erin Butcher–Lyden, for appellees the State of Ohio, Attorney General Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Jon Husted, Auditor David Yost, The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and Director Gary Mohr; Michael DeWine, Attorney General, and Pearl M. Chin, for appellee Governor John Kasich; Michael DeWine, Attorney General, and William J. Cole, for appellees Ohio Department of Administrative Services and Director Robert Blair.

Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, Charles R. Saxbe, James D. Abrams and Celia M. Kilgard, for appellees Corrections Corporation of America and CCA Western Properties, Inc.

Buckley King LPA, Robert J. Walter, Thomas I. Blackburn and Diem N. Kaelber, for Amicus Curiae Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE)/AFSCME Local 4, AFL–CIO, Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio, Incorporated, and American Federation of State, County, Municipal Employees Ohio Counsel 8.


{¶ 1} Plaintiffs-appellants, Ohio Civil Service Employees Association et al., appeal from a judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas granting the motion to dismiss of defendants-appellees, State of Ohio c/o Mike DeWine et al. Because the trial court erred in granting the motion to dismiss, we reverse.

I. Procedural History

{¶ 2} Plaintiffs filed a complaint on July 9, 2012, alleging 2011 Am.Sub.H.B. No. 153 (“H.B. No. 153”) as it related to section 753.10, section 812.20, and R.C. 9.06 violated three provisions of the Ohio Constitution: (1) the one-subject rule contained in Article II, Section 15(D); (2) the joint venture rule in Article VIII, Section 4 both on its face and as applied; and (3) the right to referendum in Article II, Section 1(C) because it stated R.C. 9.06 and section 753.10 as enacted were effective immediately and not subject to referendum. Plaintiffs additionally alleged H.B. No. 153 in its entirety was unconstitutional because

[2 N.E.3d 309]

it violated the one-subject rule. Finally, the individual plaintiffs sought declarations that they were “public employees” as defined in R.C. 4117.01(C).

{¶ 3} Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on September 6, 2012, adding additional defendants and arguing that 2012 Am.Sub.S.B. No. 312 also unconstitutionally violated the one-subject rule. Plaintiffs sought relief in the form of a declaratory judgment, a preliminary and permanent injunction, and a writ of mandamus.

{¶ 4} Defendants filed a motion to dismiss, on September 7, 2012, arguing: (1) the trial court lacked jurisdiction under Civ.R. 12(B)(1); (2) plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the complaint; and (3) the complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted under Civ.R. 12(B)(6). After the parties fully briefed the issues, the trial court, on November 20, 2012, granted defendants' motion to dismiss, finding: (1) the court had jurisdiction over constitutional challenges to H.B. No. 153 but lacked jurisdiction over individual employee rights, including whether named individual plaintiffs were public employees under R.C. 4117.01(C); (2) plaintiffs had standing to pursue their constitutional claims; and (3) plaintiffs failed to state a claim that H.B. No. 153 violated the Ohio Constitution.

II. Assignments of Error

{¶ 5} Plaintiffs appeal, assigning two errors:

1. The trial court erred in dismissing Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint because it stated a claim that:

A. R.C. 9.06 As Amended And R.C. 753.10[sic] As Enacted In Am. Sub. H.B. No. 153 By The 129th General Assembly Violated Section 15(D), Article II Of The Ohio Constitution And Could Be Severed.

B. H.B. No. 153 Violated Section 15(D), Article II Of The Ohio Constitution Because Of The Many Unrelated Non–Economic Provisions And If Not Found Unconstitutional They Must Be Severed.

C. Section 4, Article VIII Of The Ohio Constitution Was Violated.

D. Section 812.20 Enacted in H.B. 153 Unlawfully Declared R.C. 9.06 And R.C. 753.10 [sic] Exempt From Referendum And Made Them Immediately Effective Thereby Precluding Any Referendum Effort In Violation Of Section 1c, Article II Of The Ohio Constitution.

E. Despite Inaction By The Plaintiffs A Violation Of The Right Of Referendum Could Be Remedied By Severance Of The Offending Provisions.

2. The trial court erred in dismissing Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint because:

A. Record Evidence Is Required To Decide Whether Challenged Legislation And The Actions Taken Thereunder Are Unconstitutional As Applied And The Court May Not Consider Such Evidence On A Motion To Dismiss.

B. The Court Failed To Rule Whether Section 4, Article VIII Of The Ohio Constitution Was Unconstitutional As Applied And Whether Plaintiffs Alternative Claim That They Were Public Employees As Defined In R.C. 4117.01(C) Stated A Claim Upon Which Relief Could Be Granted.

For ease of discussion, we consolidate and consider plaintiffs' assignments of error out of order.

III. Constitutional Challenges

{¶ 6} Appellate review of the dismissal of a complaint under Civ.R. 12(B)(6) is de novo. Perrysburg Twp. v. Rossford, 103 Ohio St.3d 79, 2004-Ohio-4362, 814 N.E.2d 44, ¶ 5.

[2 N.E.3d 310]

{¶ 7} “A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted tests the sufficiency of the complaint.” Volbers–Klarich v. Middletown Mgt., Inc., 125 Ohio St.3d 494, 2010-Ohio-2057, 929 N.E.2d 434, ¶ 11. To dismiss a complaint under Civ.R. 12(B)(6) for failing to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, it must be beyond doubt from the complaint that the plaintiffs can prove no set of facts entitling them to recovery. O'Brien v. Univ. Community Tenants Union, Inc., 42 Ohio St.2d 242, 327 N.E.2d 753 (1975), syllabus, following Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957). The allegations of the complaint must be construed as true; the allegations and any reasonable inferences drawn from them must be construed in the nonmoving party's favor. Ohio Bur. of Workers' Comp. v. McKinley, 130 Ohio St.3d 156, 2011-Ohio-4432, 956 N.E.2d 814, ¶ 12, citing LeRoy v. Allen, Yurasek & Merklin, 114 Ohio St.3d 323, 2007-Ohio-3608, 872 N.E.2d 254, ¶ 14.

A. One–Subject Rule

{¶ 8} Ohio Constitution, Article II, Section 15(D) provides: “No bill shall contain more than one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in its title.” The one-subject rule exists to prevent the legislature from engaging in logrolling, which “occurs when legislators combine disharmonious proposals in a single bill to consolidate votes and pass provisions that may not have been acceptable to a majority on their own merits.” Riverside v. State, 190 Ohio App.3d 765, 2010-Ohio-5868, 944 N.E.2d 281, ¶ 36 (10th Dist.), citing State ex rel. Dix v. Celeste, 11 Ohio St.3d 141, 142–43, 464 N.E.2d 153 (1984). “The one-subject provision attacks logrolling by disallowing unnatural combinations of provisions in acts, i.e., those dealing with more than one subject, on the theory that the best explanation for the unnatural combination is a tactical one-logrolling.” Dix at 143, 464 N.E.2d 153.

{¶ 9} The one-subject rule also operates to prevent the attachment of riders to bills that are “ ‘so certain of adoption that the rider will secure adoption not on its own merits, but on the measure to which it is attached.’ ” Dix at 143, 464 N.E.2d 153, quoting Ruud, No Law Shall Embrace More Than One Subject, 42 Minn.L.Rev. 389, 391 (1958). “The danger of riders is particularly evident when a bill as important and likely of passage as an appropriations bill is at issue.” Simmons–Harris v. Goff, 86 Ohio St.3d 1, 16, 711 N.E.2d 203 (1999), citing Ruud at 413.

{¶ 10} “The one-subject rule is mandatory.” Riverside at ¶ 37.See In re Nowak, 104 Ohio St.3d 466, 2004-Ohio-6777, 820 N.E.2d 335, ¶ 54 (“Since the one-subject provision is capable of invalidating an enactment, it cannot be considered merely directory in nature.”). However, enforcement of the one-subject provision remains limited by affording the General Assembly “great latitude in enacting comprehensive legislation” and beginning with the presumption that statutes are constitutional. Dix at 145, 464 N.E.2d 153.See Hoover v. Franklin Cty. Bd. of Commrs., 19 Ohio St.3d 1, 6, 482 N.E.2d 575 (1985); State ex rel. Ohio Civ. Serv. Emps. Assn., AFSCME, Local 11, AFL–CIO v. State Emp. Relations Bd., 104 Ohio St.3d 122, 2004-Ohio-6363, 818 N.E.2d 688, ¶ 27.

{¶ 11} The constitutionality of an enactment depends “primarily, if not exclusively, on a case-by-case, semantic and contextual analysis.” Dix at 145, 464 N.E.2d 153. Disunity of subject matter, not the mere aggregation of topics, causes a bill to violate the one-subject rule. Nowak at ¶ 59. Where the topics of a bill share a common purpose or relationship, the fact that the bill includes more than

[2 N.E.3d 311]

one topic is not fatal. Ohio Civ. Serv. Emps. Assn. at ¶ 28, citing State ex rel. Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers v. Sheward, 86 Ohio St.3d 451, 496, 715 N.E.2d 1062 (1999), and Hoover at 6, 482 N.E.2d 575. “A manifestly gross and fraudulent violation” of the one-subject rule will cause an enactment to be invalidated. Nowak at paragraph one of the syllabus, modifying Dix at syllabus.

{¶ 12} H.B. No. 153 provides that its purpose is “to make operating appropriations for the biennium beginning July 1, 2011, and ending June 30, 2013; and to provide authorization and conditions for the operation of programs, including reforms for the efficient and effective operation of state and local government.” (Text of Bill, at 11–12.) H.B. No. 153 is over three thousand pages long, containing amendments to over one thousand...

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