Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Appellate Court Narrows Ruling Allowing Clearing Of Homeless Encampments

In State of Ohio ex rel. New Prospect Baptist Church v, Rulehlman (OH App., Dec. 20, 2019), an Ohio state appellate court, narrowed an injunction previously issued by a trial court.  The city of Cincinnati had allowed homeless encampments to be created.  In a suit against the city, it was alleged that these presented a hazard to health and safety and constituted a nuisance. Agreeing with that contention, the trial court held that city and county law enforcement authorities could to clear homeless encampments throughout the city and county.  New Prospect Baptist Church, which was not a party to the trial court action, sued to prevent enforcement of the injunction against its use of its 4-acre site in the city as a refuge for the homeless. The appellate court issued a writ of prohibition requiring the trial court to narrow its injunction. The appeals court said in part:
[The trial judge's] permanent injunction is unauthorized by law to the extent that respondent seeks to enjoin actions by private nonparties, not found to be aiding or abetting a named defendant, within the city limits of Cincinnati, and by any entity outside the city limits of Cincinnati. Respondent’s orders imposing additional health and safety conditions on entities like New Prospect are similarly unauthorized by law.
City Beat, reports on the decision.