City of Lakewood Wins Another Victory in Lawsuit Costing Taxpayers $90,683February 26, 2018
The City of Lakewood has won another in a string of legal victories related to Lakewood Hospital when the Ohio Supreme Court rejected a final appeal filed in the case.
The suit, brought by Michael Skindell, state senator for Lakewood and its surrounding area, was initially filed in December 2015 to contest the city’s process in reaching a decision about the future of the hospital, which was operated on property owned by the city. The suit was first dismissed by the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas after it found that Sen. Skindell’s claims were meritless, and was later dismissed by both the state’s Eighth District Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Ohio.
On Feb. 14, the Supreme Court of Ohio rejected Sen. Skindell’s suit a second time when the court refused to reconsider its prior order rejecting the case for review. That decision ended the lawsuit for good.
“In this case, over 40 public meetings were held addressing every aspect of the future of Lakewood Hospital,” Lakewood Mayor Mike Summers said. “Hundreds of citizens voiced their opinions. Two referendums and a mayor’s race featured this issue. Local media covered it weekly. We’re relieved to put this behind us.”
The city spent $90,683 in legal fees defending against Sen. Skindell’s lawsuit. Of this amount, the city spent $11,018 on the Common Pleas Court matter in December 2015, $66,365 on the appeal to the Eighth District in 2016 and early 2017, and $13,300 on the Supreme Court appeal from early 2017 to date.
Lakewood City Council President Sam O’Leary participated in council deliberations over the hospital’s future in 2015.
“Sen. Skindell’s publicity stunt cost Lakewood taxpayers over $90,000 and dragged on for years after the people of Lakewood had their say at the ballot box on this issue,” O’Leary said. “The trial court, court of appeals, and Ohio Supreme Court all saw it as such. At a time when our community has real needs to address, Sen. Skindell should have known better than to continue wasting valuable taxpayer dollars on his own political pursuits.
“The closure of Lakewood Hospital was not an easy decision for our community,” O’Leary said, “but now that both the residents and courts have had their say, we can all focus on moving Lakewood forward, together.”
Summers added: “Rather than work on real problems or work towards real solutions, Mike Skindell believes filing lawsuits is effective leadership. Mike Skindell has lost this case and its appeals in three different courts. Enough is enough.”
See the Supreme Court’s decision to deny Sen. Skindell’s motion here: http://supremecourt.ohio.gov/pdf_viewer/pdf_viewer.aspx?pdf=214576.pdf.