Ohio Supreme Court Accepts First Appeal From Norwood Home and Business Owners

John Kramer
John Kramer · May 25, 2005

Washington, D.C.—Today, the Ohio Supreme Court accepted an appeal filed by Norwood homeowners Carl and Joy Gamble and local businessman Joe Horney on an issue that affects everyone in Ohio whose property is wrongfully condemned for a private developer’s benefit: Can a developer bulldoze your home or business even as an appeal of that condemnation is pending?

The Court agreed to decide whether a developer can put the cart before the horse by demolishing a person’s home or business before the Ohio Supreme Court (and other appellate courts) can issue a final decision on the constitutionality of the use of eminent domain against their properties. The Court’s ultimate decision will impact home and business owners throughout the state.

The Gambles and Mr. Horney are fighting the City of Norwood’s condemnation of their property for the benefit of developer Jeffrey Anderson and his Rookwood Partners, and they will soon file papers with the Ohio Supreme Court asking it to review and overturn an appeals court decision allowing the unconstitutional land grab of their property.

“Developers shouldn’t be able to destroy a person’s home while his appeals are still pending and fundamental constitutional questions need to be resolved,” said Bert Gall, an Institute for Justice attorney who represents the Gambles and Mr. Horney. “When a city like Norwood abuses eminent domain, its victims should be able to return to their homes and businesses once their rights are vindicated. The Ohio Supreme Court is absolutely right to take up this vital issue that could impact property owners statewide.”

Today’s court order concerns a request for review that the Gambles and Mr. Horney filed with the Ohio Supreme Court on February 1 while they were fighting to keep Anderson from demolishing their properties as their cases are appealed. Later that same month, the Court issued an injunction preventing Anderson from destroying the Gambles’ home and Mr. Horney’s rental home.

“I’m glad that the Ohio Supreme Court is going to look at this issue. They shouldn’t allow developers to tear down homes and businesses in the middle of an appeal,” said Joe Horney. “That’s just wrong.”