Monday, July 01, 2013

Factional Dispute In Ohio Mosque Can Only Be Decided In Quo Warranto Action By State

In Masjid Omar Ibn El Khattab Mosque v. Salim, (OH App., June 27, 2013), two competing groups each claimed to be the governing board of the Omar Mosque in Columbus, Ohio. The Mosque, at the instigation of the first board, filed suit in a state trial court seeking a temporary restraining order to require the second board to declare that it had no authority to control or direct the affairs of the Mosque. The members of the second board filed a counterclaim seeking a declaratory judgement that they are the legitimate board of the Mosque. The Court of Appeals upheld the determination that the trial court lacks jurisdiction in the case because the suit was asking it to determine an issue that can only be decided in a quo warranto action.  Under Ohio Revised Code, Chap. 2733, a quo warranto action can only be brought by the attorney general or a prosecuting attorney in the state Supreme Court or a Court of Appeals. The appeals court however held that the trial court's dismissal should have been without prejudice and that the trial court should have stayed the action so that it could be determined what to do with the Mosque's funds that were being held by the court during the litigation.

1 comment:

Eric Rasmusen said...

How interesting! This is all about procedure. Only the appellate courts have jurisdiction, and only the State can bring an action of quo warranto. But, reading the decision, the Supreme Court can "direct" the attorney-general to bring the action if the AG refuses to, which it might well do (since why would it care about a dispute between private parties?). Someone's lawyer seems to have been an ignoramus who didn't bother to read the statutes, or else he's running up the hours.