Tuesday night of this week, Finney Law Firm founder Chris Finney and Jennifer Branch of the law firm of Gerhardstein & Branch will discuss recent legal developments in the area of Religious Liberties and Women’s Rights before the ground-breaking community forum Beyond Civility.

The Back-to-Back series hosted by Beyond Civility asks participants to debate a controversial topic from a position different than that which they would normally advocate.  This session addresses the twin Supreme Court decisions from last session in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Wheaton College v. Burwell.  

Jennifer Branch, who sits on the Board of Planned Parenthood, Southwest Ohio region will take the “”conservative” position in favor of the Hobby Lobby and Wheaton College decisions, and Chris Finney, co-founder of the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST), will take the opposing position.

The successful Back-to-Back series hosted by Beyond Civility has featured prior programs such as:

Beyond Civility’s distinguished Board of Directors is here.

To RSVP to attend Tuesday Night’s free event, which offers CLE credits, click here.  Click here to obtain CLE credits.

In yet another important First Amendment decision emanating from the case of Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals today upheld the decision of the trial court granting summary judgment to the Susan B. Anthony List on the defamation claim portion of the litigation.  That decision is here.

As background, the matter commenced with an administrative proceeding before the Ohio Elections Commission, where Congressional Candidate Steve Driehaus claimed that the Susan B. Anthony List made certain false statements in the 2010 Congressional election, namely that Driehaus supported legislation that included the spending of taxpayer monies for abortion.

The Susan B. Anthony List then proceeded into Federal Court, claiming that prosecution under Ohio’s “False Claims” statute violated its First and Fourteenth amendment rights.  That matter eventually ascended to the United States Supreme Court on standing grounds, wherein Plaintiffs prevailed 9-0 and the matter is now proceeding before the 6th Circuit on appeal on the substantive issues.

But Driehaus filed a counterclaim in the Federal action, claiming that the statements of the Susan B. Anthony List defamed him. District Court Judge Timothy Black initially sided with Driehaus in allowing the defamation claim to proceed to trial, but later reversed himself and dismissed the case on Summary Judgment initiated by Susan B. Anthony List.

That ruling on the Summary Judgment was on appeal before the 6th Circuit and is the subject of today’s opinion wherein the 6th Circuit sustained the ruling, but on alternate grounds.

It is an important First Amendment and defamation law pronouncement from the 6th Circuit.

As part of our commitment to “Make a Difference” for our community, Finney Law Firm has become a corporate sponsor of the Empower U adult education series.

Empower U has existed for six years, and puts out some of the very best information to citizens who want to be informed in their civic and personal affairs.  The classes are free to attendees.

Visit their web site and course offerings here.

At the Volokh Conspiracy, Jonathan Adler draws a parallel between the activist litigation challenge to the Tellico Dam project, Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill, insisting on a strict reading of the Endangered Species Act, and the activist litigation challenge to Obamacare, King v. Burwell, insisting on a strict reading of the ACA’s provision for state exchanges.

Adler points to the TVA decision to suggest that Court will apply a strict reading to Obamacare and undo the federal exchange that has taken the place of state exchanges in states that have not created their own. Read Adler’s analysis here.

In a decision that could have far-reaching implications against over-reach by state licensing Boards, today the United States Supreme Court ruled that under certain circumstances their actions could constitute violations of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.

The issue in the case of North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission, No. 13-534, addressed the attempt by the Appellant to punish the provision of teeth whitening services by non-dentists.  

SCOTUS ruled that the facts that (i) the eight-member licensing board consisted of six dentists who were selected by the state’s licensed dentists and (ii) the panel operated largely outside of supervision by the State weighed in favor of denying the panel members the same immunity granted to the State under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.

Given that licensing panels exist, at least in part, for the purpose of limiting competition in the provision of services offered by various professions, to the extent that they have the forgoing characteristic, both public and private Sherman Anti-Trust actions may lie.

Read about the decision here in the New York Times.

Read the decision here.

Is it so simple to engage in the practice of law to print business cards holding yourself out as an attorney, and to engage clients? Apparently so, even in the internet era.

Right here in Cincinnati, as our friends at Kegler, Hill, Brown and Ritter report here, Mary E. Hernandez signed up clients and collected legal fees — although may not have actually rendered any legal services — from an unsuspecting immigration client.

Mary has been disciplined by the Ohio Supreme Court, although apparently not criminally prosecuted.

Read the story here.


This article from our friends at Kegler, Brown, Hill + Ritter addresses the record low pass rate for Ohio’s Bar exam.  Is it a policy to make it tougher to be admitted in Ohio or a less-prepared crop of students?  The fact that the trend from 2009 to 2013 was consistent would militate against the former and in favor of the latter.  It may also be an outlier.

In any event, we need attorneys well prepared for the rigors of the profession.

This week marks a major milestone for our firm with the formal announcement of Ivy Pointe Title, LLC.

Last week, we moved in, hooked up and welcomed experienced real estate attorney Rick Turner as President of our new title insurance company, along with experienced title professionals Evan Meredith and Patricia Gillespie.    The move-in went smoothly, and clients are receiving them strongly.

This week, we formally announce their arrival with a mailing and the launch of our new Ivy Pointe Title, LLC.

We want to thank our many vendors who helped with the outstanding marketing materials, and our technologically cutting-edge web site: Chris Bollman and Karyn Lawrence of Round Pixels, our web developer; Sue LaChapelle, our graphic designer; our printer, Cathy Brinkman of Curry Printing (always timely and good quality); Pete Witte of Baron Engraving who made and installed our signage (involving some late nights and weekends); and our paralegal Laura Linneman who worked tirelessly to coordinate the many pieces of the puzzle to assure a timely and quality launch.

We have more pieces to the web site yet to launch to meet (and hopefully exceed) our clients’ needs.

It has been an amazing and rewarding experience working with all these professionals at Ivy Pointe Title and our vendor team who got us launched.  We recommend their services to each of you.

Christopher P. Finney has been invited to speak at the Potter Stewart American Inn of Court on September 16 along with Terrance Nestor, acting City Solicitor of Cincinnati.

The group is an organization of attorneys designed to improve the skills, professionalism and ethics of the bench and bar.

The topic will be fee shifting in federal and state litigation.

We enjoyed reading this snippet on a decision of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in which counsel tried to misrepresent the record to the Court of Appeals by using misleading narrow passages from the record to support their position.  The Court not only overturned the granting of Summary Judgment,  but it chastised counsel for the Defendant for  “misstat[ing] the record on summary judgment by selectively quoting from deposition testimony.

The comeuppance doled out to counsel who unsuccessfully tried to pull one over not he Courts is satisfying.