Thursday, May 7, 2009

Supreme Court clarifies “grounds for appeal” language in R.C. 119.12

The Supreme Court of Ohio today clarified that R.C. 119.12 requires a party appealing an administrative order or ruling by a state agency to identify in its notice of appeal one or more specific legal or factual errors in the order being appeal. The decision makes clear that the notice of appeal must include more than a restatement of the statutory standard of review for such orders.

The decision has implications for Ohio educators because, among other reasons, R.C. 119.12 may be used to appeal decisions of the Ohio Department of Education suspending or revoking a teacher or administrator’s licensure. The procedures contained in R.C. 119.12 may also be used by an educator to recoup his or her attorney’s fees after successfully defending him or herself in an ODE hearing.

It seems the caveat laid down by the Supreme Court today is, when appealing decisions of administrative agencies pursuant to R.C. 119.12, err on the side of more information than less. What might seem like a technicality could actually divest a court of jurisdiction to hear an appeal.

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