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Arthur O'Neil Mertz Michel & Brown Co., LPA

 

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Leizerman & Associates, LLC

 

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Geiser, Bowman & McLafferty, LLC

 

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Landskroner, Grieco & Merriman, LLC

 

Meyer Wilson Co., LPA

 

Murray & Murray Co., LPA

 

Nager Romaine &
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O'Connor Acciani & Levy, LPA

 

Petersen & Petersen

 

Plevin & Gallucci Co., LPA

 

Rourke & Blumenthal

 

Slater & Zurz, LLP

 

Scott Elliott Smith, LPA

 

Spangenberg, Shibley & Liber

 

Robert J. Wagoner, Co., LLC

 

Tzangas Plakas Mannos Ltd.

 


 

                     

Are you involved in consumer law? Join your fellow OAJ attorneys in the Consumer 
Law Section! This section is here to serve as a forum for members to share their ideas, tips,
and tactics for tackling complex 
legal challenges and to be a resource for those practicing consumer law.


Protecting Ohioans: An Immediate Call to Amend Ohio's Long-Arm Statute
By: Edmond J. Mack, Esq.
A Canadian company advertises its cabins to hunting and fishing enthusiasts throughout Ohio.  An Ohio family is successfully lured.  They travel deep into the Canadian wilderness to enjoy a remote family vacation.  A defective propane refrigerator in the cabin emits carbon monoxide.  The family is killed in their sleep.   Under current Ohio’s Long-Arm jurisdiction statute, particularly under the current interpretation of the Sixth Circuit, the Canadian company cannot be held responsible in Ohio courts. It does not have to be this way.  The conclusion would likely be different under the long-arm statutes of many other states.  This lack of legal recourse applies to Ohio corporations and individuals alike.  For the benefit of all Ohioans, both families and companies, Ohio’s Long-Arm Statute must be amended.  This need is even more pressing in light of recent decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court.

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General Assembly makes it easier for Consumers to cancel consumer transactions
By Daniel Myers, Esq.
The Ohio General Assembly recently amended a forty-year old, significant consumer law and made it better for consumers, not worse.  Unlike the right to cure changes to the Consumer Sales Practices Act in 2012, the recent enactment of SB 274 amended Section 1345.22 of the Home Solicitation Sales Act (“HSSA”) to provide consumers more flexibility with communicating their cancellation of a home solicitation sale.  It also made some changes geared specifically to the home security industry.

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Leaving No Stone Unturned:  Finding Compensation In Surety Bonds For Consumers In Cases Against Insolvent Contractors
By Daniel J. Myers, Esq.
   For attorneys who frequently deal with home construction and remodeling disputes, one of the most frustrating situations they face is telling an upset homeowner, who has tens of thousands of dollars in damage, that there is nothing they can do because the contractor is likely insolvent.  While many of these contractors have limited assets or no assets, too many attorneys give up there.  There may also be no insurance coverage for any of the damages.  
   
When investigating a potential consumer lawsuit against a residential contractor, the assets may not matter.  If the contractor obtained a permit for the work performed, there is a good chance that there is a contractor licensing bond available to provide some compensation for homeowners harmed by shoddy work or contractor fraud.

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Sun Tzu's Art of War, for Lawyers
By Troy Doucet
Sun Tzu indicated warfare is governed by five factors: the moral law, heaven, earth, the commander, and methods and discipline.  These analogize well into what we know govern litigation: the justness of the cause, court, facts of the case, attorneys on the case, and the systems and discipline in place to ensure the path laid is the path followed.  Sun Tzu indicated that studying and weighing the strengths and weaknesses of each of these factors will enable anyone to determine the matter’s outcome.

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Is it CAFA or Kafka?! Effectively pleading multistate class-action cases after the Class Action Fairness Act
By Daniel Karon
The Class Action Fairness Act created federal jurisdiction over multistate class action lawsuits, and it caused many plaintiffs’ attorneys to predict the demise of them. But instead, by properly pleading their multistate class-action complaints, creative plaintiffs’ attorneys are successfully pursuing multistate class actions in federal court on similar multistate bases as in the past. The Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 transformed class-action practice and procedure as we know it. CAFA’s major changes involve:

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Embracing the “Private Attorney General” role in Consumer Litigation 
By Nadine L. Ballard
From a historical perspective, when consumer protection statutes were enacted across the country, it was recognized that private enforcement of the law was equally as important as government enforcement. Accordingly, the private remedy sections of consumer statutes were known as the “private attorney general” provisions, entitling private citizens to take action, not only to seek recompense for themselves, but to help improve the marketplace for all citizens of their state. In Ohio, this is accomplished by the statutory authority in the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act (CSPA. R.C. 1345.09 enables consumers to hire counsel by giving consumers the right to seek recovery of their attorney fees. This section also allows consumers to seek penalties in the form of treble damages, which replaces the common law role of punitive damages- to punish the defendant for the wrongs it committed against the marketplace. But if you embrace the concept of acting as a private attorney general, the statute should support more remedial action- at least the same type of remedies pursued and obtained by the government enforcement agencies.

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Although Little Known, Forced Binding Arbitration is a Big Threat to Civil Liberty
By: Rocco Yeargin, Young & Yeargin, LLC, Akron, OH
"In suits at common law, trial by jury in civil cases is as essential to secure the liberty of the people as any one of the pre-existent rights of nature." - James Madison
The development of forced binding arbitration may present the most pervasive current threat to American civil liberty that almost no one is talking about.  Forced arbitration clauses have found their way into nearly every type of consumer and employment contract.  On an alarmingly wide-scale, businesses are requiring people to waive access to the public justice system as a precondition to the purchase of staples such as a car, television, or credit card.  Service organizations, ranging from proprietary schools to nursing homes, are now requiring people to surrender their constitutional right to hold such organizations accountable in court.  As a means of dodging public accountability, corporations are requiring consumers, through the use of embedded fine print in cookie-cutter contracts, to submit all disputes to private binding arbitration.

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Ford’s Flare for Fighting Fees 
By: Todd Willis, Esq., Akron, OH
Since its enactment in 1987, Ohio’s Lemon Law has provided that consumers “shall” recover reasonable attorney’s fees when they have retained legal representation to help resolve their claims (R.C. 1345.75).  These cases are often resolved with minimal time and correspondingly modest attorney’s fees.  Sadly, even with clear statutory language, one of the largest factors that increases attorney fees… is what can become a Kafkaesque fight over attorney fees.
Ford’s counsel, in particular, has increasingly taken the position that attorney fees are not recoverable.  In the case of Pilz v. Ford Motor Co., 5th Dist. No. 2006CA00337, 2007-Ohio-2611,
Ford argued that the consumer was not entitled to recover attorney fees as the case had not been formally submitted to its brand-new alternative dispute resolution mechanism (“ADR”).  The court rode along with Ford in that case.  Now, just six years later, and without any changes to the statute, Ford has pulled a U-turn, asserting that because a case has proceeded through ADR, attorney fees are now precluded. 

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Consumer Law In The Aftermath Of The Consumer Financial Protection Act Of 2010
By: Amy Wells, Esq., and Mandy Jamison, Law Clerk
In the wake of the recent financial crises, the U.S. Government sought a way to “promote the financial stability of the United States by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system, to end ‘too big to fail,’ to protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts, to protect consumers from abusive financial services practices, and for other purposes. As a result, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 was born. This Act paved way to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

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