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Citizen Lacks Standing to Assert a Mere “Complaint in Injury” Due to Senate Bill 22 Compliance

In the case of Cronin v. Governor of Ohio, 2022-Ohio-829, the Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals agreed that a citizen lacked standing to bring a “complaint for injury” seeking to prohibit the Ohio Governor from complying with Senate Bill 22, which limits the Governor’s executive authority in acting under an emergency declaration.

Here, the citizen argued that the Ohio General Assembly violated the Ohio Constitution by “impeding lawful executive action and impermissibly appropriate[ing] executive authority for the legislative branch of government, placing the health and safety of Ohio residents at higher risk.” 2022-Ohio-829 at ¶ 2. The Court found that the citizen lacked standing to bring such a claim.

In support of its finding that the citizen lacked standing, the Court explained that, to establish standing, a plaintiff “must show that they (1) suffered an injury that is (2) fairly traceable to the defendant’s allegedly unlawful conduct, and (3) likely to be redressed by the requested relief.” 2022-Ohio-829 at ¶ 15. Accordingly, the Court concluded that the citizen failed to demonstrate that (1) the citizen had a direct and concrete injury due to Senate Bill 22, (2) any alleged harm the citizen suffered or will suffer are because of Senate Bill 22, and/or (3) the citizen’s alleged harm would be redressed by the requested relief.

It is important to note that this case may have resulted in a different outcome had the citizen asserted either a mandamus action under the “public-right doctrine” or “taxpayer standing.” The Court explained that the public-right doctrine did not apply here because the citizen did not bring a mandamus action to procure the enforcement or protection of a public right due to alleged “rare and extraordinary” issues that threaten serious public injury. The Court also explained that taxpayer standing did not apply here because the citizen neither challenged expenditures to or from any fund nor sought to compel any relief from any fund.

To read Senate Bill 22, click here.

To read this case, click here.

Authors: Matthew John Markling and the McGown & Markling Team.

Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always-changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.




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