Ohio Public Interest Law: Finney Law Firm files suit to enjoin unauthorized lawsuit

In June 2019, Cincinnati City Solicitor Paula Boggs Muething filed suit against the state of Ohio, arguing that a state law provision prohibiting cities from enacting their own firearms regulations violates the Ohio Constitution. Unfortunately, it seems, she went off “half-cocked.”  We say this because, while the suit was brought in the name of the City of Cincinnati, the Cincinnati City Council never voted to authorize the lawsuit.

State Representative Tom Brinkman

On July 19, 2019, State Representative, and Cincinnati resident, Tom Brinkman sent a letter to Ms. Boggs Muething demanding that she seek an injunction to restrain the abuse of corporate powers (in essence to sue herself to keep her from bringing suit in the City’s name without specific authorization from the City Council).

Ms. Boggs Muething rejected Mr. Brinkman’s demand, thus permitting Brinkman to file suit himself on behalf of the City. Brinkman filed suit on August 13, 2019, and a few days later, the court ordered Brinkman’s suit consolidated with the original lawsuit against the State of Ohio.

While the lawsuit has been presented as an attack on the City’s efforts to regulate firearms, the lawsuit simply seeks to have the City Solicitor live within the bounds of her authority. If the Cincinnati City Council wishes to authorize the Solicitor to bring suit, she would be authorized to do so. But, to date, the council has not authorized such a suit and it is improper to have the solicitor deciding on her own to bring suit in the City’s name. This is an abuse of her power and everyone concerned about transparency and accountability should agree that Council’s authority should not be usurped.

The State of Ohio filed a motion to dismiss the City’s original complaint, the city’s response to that motion is due August 19, 2019.

Read Brinkman’s Complaint here  and Motion for an Injunction here. Fox 19’s coverage of the suit is available here.