Monday, August 14, 2017
Thursday, March 9, 2017
Governor Kasich signs “Annie’s Law”
On January 4, 2017, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed HB 388, known as “Annie’s Law”. The new law, which will go into effect on April 4th, 2017, is named after Ohio Attorney Annie Rooney, who was killed on July 4th, 2013 in Chillicothe, Ohio as the result of an accident with a repeat drunk driving offender who went left of center.
Annie’s Law focuses on increased use of ignition interlock devices for those who have been convicted of driving under the influence and are given driving privileges. An interlock system requires the driver to blow in to a breathalyzer machine installed on the driver’s vehicle. If any alcohol is detected, the vehicle will not start.
The law increases first time minimum license suspensions from 6 months to 1 year. However, at the discretion of the court, the license suspension can be reduced to 6 months if an ignition interlock system is used. As increased incentive for use of an ignition interlock system when granting driving privileges, Annie's Law allows for unlimited driving privileges when the system is in place. Until now, Ohio law limited driving for only vocational, educational, and medical needs.
According to MADD, states with the strongest ignition interlock laws, such as West Virginia and New Mexico which require them for all drunk driving offenders, have seen reductions in drunk driving deaths by 50 and 38 percent, respectively.
In addition to increased license suspension minimums and an expansion of driving privileges when using an ignition interlock system, the new Ohio law also expands the look back period for increased penalties from six to ten years. This means a repeat offender will face increased penalties if they have a prior DUI/OVI in the last ten years, as opposed to six years under current Ohio law.
Thursday, January 19, 2017
“Fair Share” Subrogation Becomes Law
One of the many issues facing a person injured in an automobile accident is the medical bills associated with treatment for their injuries. Most people have health insurance which will generally cover medical treatment. However, most people do not know that if they receive any compensation from the person at fault in the accident, their health insurance provider has a right of subrogation or reimbursement for the medical bills they paid. In its simplest terms, this means the health insurance provider is entitled to recover what they paid out for medical care from their insured (the injured person).
Subrogation has greatly complicated settlement of personal injury claims because it is another entity with their “hand out” looking to get part of the money. This is especially so as more and more insurance companies make low ball offers in pre-lawsuit settlement negotiations.
Further difficulty is encountered when fault for the accident isn’t totally clear. In Ohio, and injured person may generally recover as long as they are less than 50% at fault in causing the accident. The amount of recovery is reduced by the percentage the injured person was at fault. For example, if the injured person obtains a judgment for $100,000 against the person primarily causing the accident, but the jury determines the injured person was 30% at fault, they would only recover $70,000. This comparative fault reduction created the issue of whether the subrogated medical insurance company should be allowed to collect the total amount of bills they paid on behalf of the injured person despite the reduction?
Ohio recently passed the “Fair Share” law (Ohio Rev. Code § 2323.44) effectively requiring a subrogated medical insurer to reduce the amount of their subrogated interest by the same proportion that the injured person’s claim was reduced due to their percentage of fault in causing the accident. So, in the above example, a medical insurance provider could only collect 70% of what they paid on behalf of the injured person.
This may not seem like a big deal, but when fighting against large insurance corporations who’s only objective is profit, it is nice to see some common sense legislation on behalf of the injured.
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
New Year's Eve is upon us, and plans are being made for celebrations to ring in 2017. A recent decision from our court emphasizes the importance of celebrating safely.
In the hundreds of DUI cases that I have handled over the past 25 years, the fact of not having a plan in place before attending a function, gathering, or celebration stands out as a key factor resulting in charges. In a decision released just this week, our Court of Appeals found that erratic driving, bloodshot & glassy eyes, and the time of the stop (10 pm) gave the officer probable cause to arrest for DUI. No odor of alcohol, no coordination issues, and no other obvious indications of impairment.
New Year's Eve is a holiday in which law enforcement is fully staffed and have as many officers out as possible. They are looking for poor driving, burnt out turn signal or license plate lights...basically anything that gives them the opportunity to stop someone to make sure they are not impaired by alcohol or drugs. Their job is to ensure the safety of individuals traveling on the roadways, something that we all respect.
So if you are planning on celebrating this year, make sure you have a plan in place for the safety of yourself, your passengers, and other drivers on the road--a plan not to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming alcohol. Include a sober designated driver in your group if you plan on drinking and must travel. Using a taxi service or taking advantage of celebration packages at hotels that offer rooms at reasonable rates are other alternatives, both here in Wooster and in larger cities nearby.
As I often tell my family and friends, there is no comparison between the cost of taxi ride or hotel package and the burdens of a DUI charge--financially, on your life, and those around you. Have a New Year's Eve safety plan in place before heading out to celebrate, and make it a resolution for years to come--it's a decision you will not regret.
Have a safe and happy 2017 from all of us at KCKB Law!
Saturday, March 26, 2016
“There is no limit to what you can accomplish if you don’t worry about who gets the credit”
-Dr. Ted Williams, Professor of Chemistry, The College of Wooster
Today we honor our veterans for their service to our great nation. It is with great pride that I share this story about Army Captain Jonathan Grassbaugh, whose service to our country continues in his absence.
In 2007, Captain Grassbaugh was killed in action in Iraq. His widow, Jenna, also a veteran who served in Iraq, was determined to honor his name. Given that his personal motto was “non sibi”, meaning “not for oneself”, Jenna decided that helping other veterans would be the best way to honor her late husband.
With that in mind, Jenna donated one-half of her late husband’s life insurance policy, $500,000.00, to The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, and the Captain Jonathan D. Grassbaugh Veterans Project was officially established. The project continues to grow, now in its 3rd year of helping veterans in Franklin and surrounding counties with housing and consumer issues.
This is just one example of the selfless service of our veterans who have served, and are proudly serving our country. So when you thank a veteran for their service, make sure you recognize them not just for serving our country, but doing so with selfless honor.
Here is a link to the story, courtesy of Court News Ohio:
BAD DAY IN COLUMBUS FOR HUNTER WHO TOOK MONSTER WHITE-TAIL DEER WHILE HUNTING ON LAND WITHOUT PERMISSION.
On September 17, 2015, the Ohio Supreme Court found that a Huron County hunter who took a trophy white tailed deer must pay $27,851.33 because he did not have lawful permission to hunt on the property where he took the deer.
Under Ohio law, a hunter must have written permission to hunt on the land of another, and keep that written permission on his person at all times. A violation of that law carries a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine on a first offense, and a 90 day jail sentence and a $750 fine on any subsequent violations. If that’s not enough, Ohio law permits the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to seek “restitution”, or a money judgment, for an antlered-white tailed deer with a gross score of more than 125 inches.
The Huron County hunter, who believed he had permission because he was hunting on a relative’s property but did not have that permission in writing, was found guilty of hunting without permission, received a small fine, and the deer was forfeited to the State. Afterwards, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources notified him he owed an additional $27,851.33 for the buck that scored a whopping 228 6/8 inches! His hunting license was immediately revoked and his right to hunt was suspended until he pays the amount in full. The Ohio Supreme Court upheld the law in its recent decision.
As deer season approaches, make sure that you have proper written permission with you while hunting on someone else’s land or it could be an extremely expensive day in the woods!
Here is a link to the Supreme Court’s decision:
On behalf of my partners, welcome to the new KCKBLaw.com. It is our hope that our new website will provide you, our user, with useful information on our firm and the work we do for our clients.
The South Buckeye Street entrance.
Additional parking in rear of building.
On August 1st we began practicing in a new location, only the second location since Charlie Kennedy and Frank Cicconetti founded “Kennedy & Cicconetti” in 1986. We are now located in the heart of historic downtown Wooster, on the corner of Liberty and Buckeye streets in the former Newberry Building.
Other than our location, it’s business as usual for KCKB Law--helping individuals, families and businesses with their legal needs. We are looking forward to many more years of providing our clients with the highest quality of legal representation possible.