Ohio Supreme Court Declines To Hear Glouster Towing Case

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The Ohio Supreme Court has declined to hear appeals from a civil case in which a Glouster towing company was awarded $1.04 million in damages against former village officials.

However, the impact of the high court's decision could be a new trial in Athens County Common Pleas Court on most of that damage award.

In 2010, following a trial in common pleas court, David and Jennifer Dolan were awarded $1.04 million damages on their claim that Glouster officials had interfered with their towing business, JD Towing. The damages were awarded against former mayors Robert Funk and David Angle and former police chief Roger Taylor.

The Dolans had claimed that Glouster police stopped using JD Towing after then-mayor Angle had a dispute with David Dolan over a village resident's tow bill. Dolan asserted that Angle threatened to make Dolan's business "go to hell," although Angle denied making that threat.

After the jury verdict, now-retired Common Pleas Judge Michael Ward ordered a new trial on $500,000 in punitive damages and $230,000 in damages awarded for emotional distress. Both sides in the lawsuit appealed to the 4th District Court of Appeals, which upheld Ward's rulings. Both sides then appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court, which last week declined to hear the case. The high court did not give a reason.

According to court documents, the jury had awarded punitive and emotional-distress damages against Angle of $225,000, an equal amount of $225,000 against Funk and $280,000 against Taylor. Those damages would be the subject of a new trial. Ward had ruled that the awarding of those amounts appeared to have been influenced by "passion and prejudice."

A trial has not yet been scheduled.

In addition to ordering a new trial on punitive and emotional-distress damages, Ward had also thrown out $180,600 in damages against Taylor that were based on an allegation that Taylor had interfered with JD Towing getting business from the Athens County Sheriff's Office. Ward had ruled that the evidence did not support that claim.

Ward had let stand jury awards for lost profits and consequential damages suffered by the Dolans in the amounts of $40,000 against Angle, $40,000 against Funk and $50,000 against Taylor.