Ohio Supreme Court Protects Home From Eminent Domain Destruction

John Kramer
John Kramer · February 22, 2005

Washington, D.C.—Today the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the homes of Norwood residents Carl and Joy Gamble, as well as the rental property of Joe Horney, must be protected while the Ohio courts consider the merits of their appeal. The homeowners, represented by the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Justice, are seeking to protect the properties from private developer Jeffrey Anderson, who is working with the City of Norwood to take the homes to try to expand his $500,000,000 empire. Anderson had refused to give any assurance to the homeowners that he would not destroy the homes, but as a result of today’s ruling, until some future ruling by the Ohio Supreme Court, Anderson may not damage, alter or destroy the properties.

“We have felt all along that the trial court had ruled incorrectly in allowing Anderson to destroy the Gambles’ home while the merits of the case were not decided once and for all,” said Bert Gall, an attorney with the Institute for Justice, which represents the property owners for free. “Now when we win on behalf of Carl and Joy and Joe, they will all have homes to return to. That is the way the system should operate; the courts shouldn’t allow a developer like Anderson to destroy first and ask questions later.”

In two separate orders, one on behalf of the Gambles, and one on behalf of Horney, the Court ruled: “This cause is pending before this court as a discretionary appeal. Upon consideration of appellants’ emergency motion for stay of court of appeals’ judgment and motion for injunctive relief, IT IS ORDERED by the court that the motions be, and hereby are, granted. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED by the court that the appellees are hereby enjoined from destroying or otherwise altering the subject property pending further order of this court.”

Joy Gamble said, “I am so grateful the Ohio Supreme Court heard our plea and came to our rescue. Our home will be left standing, undamaged. We will have a home to come back to when we win. We’re looking forward to getting this resolved and back into our home.”

Mrs. Gamble concluded, “We have been under a tremendous strain because of Jeffrey Anderson, but we have accepted nothing from him—whether it was the cruise he offered us or the $2,500 in moving expenses. We want nothing from Anderson but to be left alone to enjoy the home that is rightfully ours.”

Earlier in the day, the Institute for Justice argued a case before the U.S. Supreme Court looking to set the outer limit on the use of eminent domain, seeking a ruling that government may not take private property for private “economic development” and that government must have some specific use for the land it seeks to take rather than merely taking the land for speculation.

Download: Supreme Court of Ohio Announcement of Stay for Norwood Residents