New Filing Urges Ohio Supreme Court To Protect Home From Eminent Domain Abuse

John Kramer
John Kramer · February 11, 2005

Washington, D.C.—Today the Institute for Justice filed additional papers with the Ohio Supreme Court urging the justices to protect the now-vacant home of Joy and Carl Gamble, senior citizens who were forced from their home by a private developer and the City of Norwood. The City has rented out its power of eminent domain to developer Jeffrey Anderson so he can bulldoze an entire neighborhood to increase his $500,000,000 fortune by expanding his nearby mall. Later this month (on February 22), the Institute for Justice will argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court challenging such abuses of eminent domain.

“We are filing additional papers with the Ohio Supreme Court to let them know that the Gambles have been strong-armed out of their home by Anderson and the City,” said Bert Gall, an attorney with the Institute for Justice. “They never wanted to leave, and doing so was painful and gut-wrenching. But they could not live in their house under siege never knowing when Anderson would bring the sheriff and try to forcibly remove them from their home.”

On February 1, the same day the Institute for Justice filed its initial appeal with the High Court seeking to protect the Gambles’ from Anderson, the Clerk of the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas issued a “writ of possession,” which left the Gambles vulnerable to being tossed out at Anderson’s whim. From that point on, Anderson could call in the sheriff to have the Gambles forcibly removed at any moment. Two Ohio courts recently ruled that private developers can take and destroy homes and small businesses even before the courts decide once and for all whether those takings should be allowed in the first place. Tragically, this is a situation that could play out again and again across the Buckeye State unless the Ohio Supreme Court acts to stop this abuse.

“Such uncertainty was too much of a strain on the Gambles,” Gall said. “It is critical the Supreme Court understand that because the Gambles have now left their home, Anderson is one big step closer to being able to destroy it before the court of appeals reviews the merits of their case. That is what makes it more important than ever that the Ohio Supreme Court step in and save the Gambles’ home during their appeal. When the Gambles win their case, they want to have a home to return to.”

The Gambles’ case—along with those of small business owners Nick Motz and Mary Beth Wilker, Matthew Burton and Sanae Ichikawa Burton, and rental-home owner Joe Horney—is currently on appeal, but the appeals court has yet to hear it.

Joy and Carl Gamble, forced out of their home in the middle of winter, have now resorted to living in the finished basement of their daughter’s home in Kentucky until they resolve their legal dispute. On a fixed income, they now pay $300 per month to store their belongings.