The Law Department of the City of Lakewood, under the direction of the City’s law director, functions as the attorney for the City of Lakewood and its officials by providing legal advice to the mayor, city council and all of the various departments. The Law Department represents the City in all court proceedings and before any administrative body. The law department prepares legislation, contracts and all legal documents to ensure all business of the City is conducted in a proper and legal manner, and serves the city government in meeting its strategic objectives.
Duties of the Law Department
The duties of the Law Department can be divided into two categories, civil and criminal, each of which is a different function.
1. Civil Duties
The Law Department serves as legal counsel and advisor to the City, its agencies, departments, boards, commissions and all of its officials. As legal advisor, the department prepares all legal documents, legislation and contracts and renders both formal and informal legal opinions. In addition, the department performs those duties defined and required by the city charter as well as those specified by the Ohio Revised Code.
The department represents the City’s interests in all civil and administrative proceedings. It files lawsuits and pursues claims on behalf of the City, and it also defends the City and its boards, commissions and officials in any proceeding where they may be named as parties.
Among its other responsibilities, the Law Department represents the City in damage and injury claims made against the City; defends allegations of civil rights violations and allegations of unconstitutionality; initiates suits for collection of taxes; files actions to enforce City ordinances including zoning and building codes; pursues damage claims by the City against persons who have damaged City property; and represents the City in public nuisance abatement proceedings, as well as federal bankruptcy and state court foreclosure proceedings.
The Law Department also represents the City as a municipal corporation in real estate development transactions and operational matters, as well as being responsible for certain filing and revivals of liens. It also drafts and approves proposed ordinances, resolutions, deeds, leases, contracts, legal pleadings and briefs. The Law Department represents the interests of Lakewood’s government in administrative proceedings before regulatory agencies.
The department also processes all insurance claims and recommends payment or settlement of those claims deemed proper. Please call the Law Department at (216) 529-6030 if you would like more information about submitting a civil claim for damages to be reviewed.
2. Criminal Duties
The Law Department prosecutes all criminal actions in the Lakewood Municipal Court. Most people come into contact with the Law Department on criminal or traffic cases. The prosecutor and the assistant prosecutor handle all criminal matters that occur in the City. Criminal matters include misdemeanor as well as felony cases that are processed through the Lakewood Municipal Court and receive a final disposition in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. The Law Department is also responsible for obtaining temporary protection orders in cases of domestic violence and other similar crimes.
Complaints must be initiated by making a report with the Lakewood Division of Police. The Law Department does not take complaints. The Law Department will follow up in appropriate cases with prosecution.
In addition, the Law Department provides a mediation program for dispute resolution. Mediation is most suitable for situations that involve individuals who have an ongoing or interpersonal relationship such as neighbors, coworkers, family members, and friends. Ordinarily this program is most successful when the parties are motivated to resolve their differences because they will continue to come in contact with each other in their neighborhoods, at work, at home and elsewhere. This service is a timely, cost-efficient and satisfying alternative to litigation. If the parties are unable or unwilling to participate in mediation they may obtain private legal counsel and submit their dispute to the courts.
- Click here to view the current Charter of the City of Lakewood
The City of Lakewood is deeply committed to promoting non-discrimination; affirmatively furthering fair housing choice; enforcing local, state, and federal fair housing law; identifying and eliminating barriers to fair housing choice; disseminating information regarding fair housing rights and obligations; and ensuring residents and those seeking accommodations in Lakewood enjoy equal access to decent, safe, affordable housing.
The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of Race, Color, Religion, Gender, National Origin, Disability and Familial Status.
Chapter 516 of Lakewood’s Codified Ordinances expands the list of protected classes from (7) to (9) by prohibiting discrimination in housing on the basis of both Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity or Expression.
FAIR HOUSING COMPLAINT ASSISTANCE
City of Lakewood
If you are a Lakewood resident and believe your fair housing rights have been violated, please complete Lakewood’s Fair Housing Complaint Information Form and contact:
Fair Housing Officer
The Housing Research & Advocacy Center also processes fair housing complaints on behalf of Lakewood residents.
Additional Fair Housing Complaint Resources
U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development
- Online Complaint Form
- Housing Discrimination Complaint iOS App
- Housing Discrimination Complaint Android App
ANALYSIS OF IMPEDIMENTS TO FAIR HOUSING CHOICE (AI)
As a recipient of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Lakewood must affirmatively further fair housing choice. The city’s Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice (AI) is critical to meeting this obligation.
The AI process involves a thorough examination of a variety of sources related to housing, affirmatively furthering fair housing, the fair housing delivery system and housing transactions, particularly for persons who are protected under fair housing law. AI sources include census data, employment and income information, home mortgage application data, federal and state fair housing complaint information, surveys of housing industry experts and stakeholders, and related information found in the public domain.
An AI also includes an active and involved public input and review process via direct contact with stakeholders, public forums to collect input from citizens and interested parties, distribution of draft reports for citizen review and formal presentations of findings and actions the city will undertake to overcome the identified impediments.
FAIR HOUSING ACTION PLAN
Lakewood’s Fair Housing Action Plan sets forth specific actions the city will take to affirmatively further fair housing and address the impediments to fair housing choice identified in the Analysis of Impediments.
LAKEWOOD HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
Lakewood’s Human Rights Commission (HRC) was established in 2016 as part of the city’s comprehensive Human Rights Ordinance which protects citizens from discrimination in the areas of housing, employment, education, and public accommodations. The HRC receives, initiates, investigates, conciliates, and adjudicated complaints alleging unlawful discrimination and partners with community stakeholders in the development of education and outreach programs regarding equal opportunity and fair housing choice. The commission is comprised of Lakewood’s Director of Planning & Development (or his or her designee); a mayoral appointee; and a City Council appointee and members may serve one three year term.
FAIR HOUSING LINKS
Please contact the Cleveland Legal Aid Society’s (https://lasclev.org/) Tenant Information Line at (216) 861-5955 for information and assistance regarding tenants’ rights and landlord responsibilities under Ohio Landlord Tenant Law.
Tenants can call between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and leave a message with their name, phone number and brief description of their housing question. Someone will call back within 24 business hours.
For access to quick housing help, see the info below available by text message and online.
- Tenant Information Line: Call 216.861.5955
- Respond to eviction complaint: Text FAQ EVICTION to 216.242.1544
- Return of security deposit: Text FAQ DEPOSIT to 216.242.1544
- How to rent deposit: Text FAQ REPAIRS to 216.242.1544
- Lead poisoning information: Text FAQ LEAD to 216.242.1544
- For other housing information: Visit https://lasclev.org/category/faqs/housing-faqs/
- How to Rent Deposit when Housing Conditions are a Problem
- Ohio Landlord-Tenant Law: The Basics
- Lead Poisoning: Rights, Remedies & Resources
- Free Legal Advice Clinics 2019
Law Related Links+-
Click here to view the legal notices for the City of Lakewood.
Click here for information about the city’s Mediation Program.
Public Record Requests+-
Click here to make a public record request.