Supreme Court Denies Request to Compel JobsOhio to Release Documents
The Ohio Supreme Court today dismissed a complaint asking the court to force economic development organization JobsOhio to produce documents requested under the state’s Public Records Act. In a unanimous, two-paragraph decision, the court ruled that the General Assembly has largely exempted JobsOhio from the state’s public records law.
The decision only addressed a public records request made by attorney Victoria E. Ullmann, who at one time represented advocacy group ProgressOhio in actions against JobsOhio.
Ullmann had asked JobsOhio to release multiple documents that she argued are public record. When she did not receive a response from JobsOhio, she filed this writ of mandamus with the Supreme Court in August 2013.
The court held it could not grant the writ because the legislature had specifically exempted the records Ullmann requested. Although some JobsOhio records are subject to the public records law, Ullmann did not seek those records.
Justice Terrence O’Donnell did not participate in this case.
On Nov. 6, the court heard oral arguments in a separate JobsOhio case, which asks whether ProgressOhio has the right to file a lawsuit against JobsOhio questioning the constitutionality of the legislation that created the entity. That case is still pending with the court.
Since 2011, the court has decided two other cases naming JobsOhio. In one case, also brought by ProgressOhio, the court held that a provision in the JobsOhio legislation requiring that lawsuits challenging its constitutionality be brought directly with the Supreme Court was unconstitutional. However, the court dismissed the action because subsequent amendments had changed the law to mandate that lawsuits against JobsOhio instead be filed in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court.
The other case was initiated by JobsOhio to compel the director of commerce to execute an agreement transferring control of the marketing and sale of alcohol in the state from the Department of Commerce to JobsOhio. The court dismissed the mandamus action because the court determined that it did not have jurisdiction to hear the case.
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