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Collective Bargaining Agreement Provides Adequate Remedy at Law for Aggrieved Firefighter

In the case of State ex rel. Casey v. Brown, 2023-Ohio-2264, the Ohio Supreme Court held that the firefighter had to use the collective bargaining agreement’s (“CBA”) required grievance procedure rather than the courts when the firefighter was not promoted the firefighter to battalion chief despite topping the eligibility list.

In this case, the firefighter argued that the CBA did not provide him with an adequate remedy at law. In response, the city argued that all employment-related grievances had to be handled through arbitration as prescribed by the CBA, and that the firefighter’s grievance was essentially settled when the union declined to take it to arbitration. The Ohio Supreme Court agreed with the city.

In support of its decision in favor of the city, the Ohio Supreme Court explained:

[The firefighter’s] argument is internally inconsistent. On the one hand, he concedes that so long as he was able to seek relief through the CBA’s grievance procedure, his remedy under the CBA was adequate. But, the argument runs, once he received an unfavorable decision by way of the union president’s decision to decline to advance his grievance to arbitration, the remedy became inadequate, clearing the way for this action. It follows that if his remedy was at one time adequate—as he concedes that it was—then that is enough.

2023-Ohio-2264 at ¶ 50. The Ohio Supreme Court further explained the mere fact that a remedy yields an unfavorable result does not render it inadequate.

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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