Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio

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At issue in this appeal from a decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) was how best to determine the true value of a low income housing property that is both rent restricted and rent subsidized. Appellant, the property owner in this case, argued that rents as derived from rent-restricted comparable should be used in determining the true value of such a property but that the property’s rent subsidies should be excluded from consideration. The board of education, however, argued that the property’s actual rents, which include tenant-paid rent and rent subsidies, should be used. The Supreme Court vacated the BTA’s decision, holding that the BTA failed to weigh and analyze a potentially material piece of evidence presented by Appellant, and given the BTA’s failure to discharge its duty as the finder of fact, the case must be remanded with instruction that the BTA “explicitly account” for the evidence at issue, along with other evidence. View "Columbus City Schools Board of Education v. Franklin County Board of Revision" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) adopting the property value stated in an appraisal report presented by the Licking Heights Local Schools Board of Education (BOE), holding that the property owner’s jurisdictional challenges to the decision below were unavailing. On appeal, the property owner argued (1) its withdrawal of the complaint it originally filed for tax year 2011 deprived the Franklin County Board of Revision (BOR) of jurisdiction to proceed on the BOE’s countercomplaint; and (2) the BOR’s jurisdiction was limited to consideration of the land value because the property owner’s original complaint contested the land value and not the value of improvements. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) the voluntary dismissal of a complaint filed under Ohio Rev. Code 5715.19(A) does not retroactively invalidate a complaint filed under section 5715.19(B); and (2) the administrative tribunals’ jurisdiction under the BOE’s complaint was not limited to determining land value. View "Licking Heights Local Schools Board of Education v. Franklin County Board of Revision" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals denying Appellant’s complaint for writs of prohibition and procedendo against Darke County Court of Common Pleas Judge Jonathan P. Hein, holding that Appellant was not entitled to either writ. In his complaint, Appellant asked for a writ of procedendo directing Judge Hein to vacate an order confirming the sale of property at a foreclosure sale. The court of appeals dismissed the procedendo claim as seeking the wrong form of relief. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that procedendo was inappropriate because Appellant sought to undo a court order rather than to compel the judge to issue a ruling. As to the request for a writ of prohibition, the Supreme Court held that even if Appellant had sought to undo the confirmation order through a writ of prohibition, that request would be moot because the court of appeals had already vacated the confirmation order. Lastly, Appellant had an adequate remedy at law by way of appeal. View "State ex rel. Sponaugle v. Hein" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that the valuation of a parcel of land with a supermarket owned by the Kroger Company by the Franklin County Board of Revision (BOR) of $2,390,000 conformed to Ohio Rev. Code 5713.03, and the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) erred in determining otherwise. The BOR reached its determination by relying on Kroger’s appraiser’s valuation of the property, which was primarily based on using the sale prices of comparable retail properties and then making adjustments to reflect the unique characteristics of the Kroger property. The BTA, however, concluded that Kroger’s appraiser’s adjustment accounting for the fact that Kroger did not have parking lot on its parcel improperly removed from the parcel’s value the benefit of Kroger’s parking easement that allowed its patrons to park on adjacent property. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the BTA erred by treating the appraiser’s adjustment as subtracting the value of Kroger’s parking easement. Rather, the appraiser evaluated the site as if it included the associated parking area and then determined the true value of the fee simple estate, as required by section 5713.03. View "Worthington City Schools Board of Education v. Franklin County Board of Revision" on Justia Law

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The Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) acted reasonably and lawfully in applying collateral estoppel to Appellant’s continuing complaint for tax years 2013 and 2014. Appellant, the owner of the real property at issue in this case, filed an original complaint for tax year 2012, asserting that the purchase price constituted the property’s true value. The county board of revision (BOR) and the BTA retained the fiscal officer’s valuation, concluding that the sale was not at arm’s length. Appellant then invoked the BOR’s continuing-complaint jurisdiction for tax years 2013 and 2014. The BOR retained the original value for tax years 2013 and 2014. On appeal, the BTA held that the doctrine of collateral estoppel applied, barring Appellant from relitigating the arm’s-length-sale issue on the continuing complaint. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the BTA properly applied collateral estoppel. View "Julia Realty, Ltd. v. Cuyahoga County Board of Revision" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals affirming the decision of the tax commissioner finding that Ohio Rev. Code 5709.911 subordinated a property’s original tax increment financing (TIF) exemption to the public-worship exemption from taxation. The Fairfield Township Board of Trustees filed a complaint against the continued exemption from taxation as a house of public worship, claiming that by granting the property owner the public-worship exemption and by continuing the exemption, the tax commissioner unlawfully relieved the church of its payment obligations as the owner of property subject to a recorded covenant. The covenant in question related to a TIF agreement entered into between the Township and a previous owner of the church property. The tax commissioner rejected the Township’s agreement, and the Board of Tax Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) by dictating that TIF exemptions be subordinated to other exemptions, section 5709.911 barred the enforcement of the real covenant with respect to service payments; and (2) the Township lacked standing to raise its constitutional challenge to section 5709.911. View "Fairfield Township Board of Trustees v. Testa" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals dismissing, sua sponte, Appellant’s complaint for a writ of mandamus filed against George Kral, Chief of Police of the Toledo police department. In his complaint, Appellant alleged that a county court of common pleas judge granted his motion for the return from the Toledo police department of $324 belonging to him and that, rather than comply with the order, the police department deposited the money into the county treasury. The court of appeals dismissed Appellant’s complaint seeking a writ of mandamus compelling Chief Kral and the police department to return the $324 and to award Appellant compensatory and punitive damages. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellant failed to state a claim in mandamus. View "State ex rel. Johnson v. Kral" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) valuing Appellant’s property in accordance with a sale price and determining that Appellant’s appraisal evidence did not negate the presumption that the sale was characteristic of true value. For tax year 2011, the Franklin County auditor valued one of Appellant’s parcels of property at $132,700 and the second parcel at $1,717,300, for a total valuation of $1,850,000. The Franklin County Board of Revision (BOR) assigned a total value to the subject property of $1,602,700 for tax years 2011, 2012, and 2013, thus rejecting the Hilliard City Schools Board of Education’s (BOE) argument that a 2009 sale price established the property’s value. The BTA determined that the property’s value should be a total of $2,313,490 for tax years 2011, 2012, and 2013, finding that the sale price presumptively established the subject property’s value and that Appellant had failed to rebut that presumption by showing that the sale was not a recent arm’s-length transaction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellant did not bear its burden at the BTA to negate the sale price as the criterion of value. View "Hilliard City Schools Board of Education v. Franklin County Board of Revision" on Justia Law

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The Lorain County Board of Revision (BOR) had continuing-complaint jurisdiction to determine the value of a property for tax years 2012, 2013, and 2014 and therefore, the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) erred in refusing to exercise jurisdiction over tax year 2014. Appellant sought a reduction from the value determined by the Lorain County auditor for the three years at issue by asserting a continuing complaint. Appellant predicated its claim on its originally filed complaint, which had challenged the property valuation for tax year 2009. That complaint was finally determined in 2014. Appellant’s continuing complaint sought to apply the same value determined in that case to 2012, 2013, and 2014. The BOR retained the auditor’s valuation. The BTA adopted Appellant’s appraiser’s valuation of $750,000 for 2012 and 2013 but concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to determine the value for tax year 2014. Specifically, the BTA found that the BOR lacked jurisdiction over tax year 2014 because a proper complaint was not filed for that tax year. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the BOR had jurisdiction to determine the property’s value for tax years 2012, 2013, and 2014; and (2) an aggregate value of $750,000 shall be assigned to the property for all three tax years. View "Novita Industries, LLC v. Lorain County Board of Revision" on Justia Law

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In this real-property-valuation case, the Supreme Court vacated the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) finding that the appraisal report presented by the Washington County Board of Revision and Washington County auditor (collectively, the County) constituted the most competent and probative evidence of the value of the subject property for tax year 2013. The BTA relied on the County’s report to value a property owned by Lowe’s Home Centers, Inc./Lowe’s Home Centers, LLC (collectively, Lowe’s), even though Lowe’s presented its own appraisal report. The Supreme Court vacated the BTA’s decision, holding (1) the Court’s decisions in Steak ’N Shake, Inc. v. Warrant County Board of Revision, 48 N.E.3d 535 (Ohio 2015), Rite Aid of Ohio, Inc. v. Washington County Board of Revision, 54 N.E.3d 1177 (Ohio 2016), and Lowe’s Home Centers, Inc. v. Washington County Board of Revision, 49 N.E.3d 1266 (Ohio 2016), provide the proper guideposts for resolving this controversy; and (2) because the BTA had yet to evaluate the evidence in light of the legal standards articulated in these three decisions, the case must be remanded for further proceedings. View "Lowe's Home Centers, Inc. v. Washington County Board of Revision" on Justia Law