Unlike private business that must follow the law, the government makes the law. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. To coin a phrase, “The King can do no wrong.” Government agencies—local, county, state or federal—deal with millions of dollars every day. Money the bureaucrats running those agencies often feel is their own, to do with as they wish. “But there are laws on what they can do.” Tell that to someone who has the power to decide what the rules mean, and who has to follow them.
Some of the biggest cases our firm has handled didn’t deal with mega companies cheating the customers. They dealt with government agencies, cheating all of us. Cheating the public. Cheating you and me. It might be your health care benefits. Or your license fees. Or your property taxes. In one recent case we handled, the county overcharged residents on their taxes, even though they won a lower valuation for their property. We sued the county, and won a judgment for millions of dollars of refunds for people just like yourself.
Another example involved a kind of billing issued to nearly every Ohio company, large or small, for their worker’s compensation premiums. The worker’s comp agency decided it needed to make more money. And some very large companies (many of them big donors to certain politicians) decided they wanted to pay less. So the agency quietly changed the way it added the bills. With a few keystrokes, the largest companies in the state saw their premiums drop dramatically, while the smallest companies got premium bills that went up 5, 8, even 10 times as much as the prior year. When the smoke cleared, over 3,000 small businesses in Ohio went bankrupt, while the government collected more than $1 BILLION in excess premiums above what the law allowed, and the biggest companies smiled all the way to the bank.
A small local restaurant, Corky and Lenny’s, was not willing to take it lying down. It would be David vs. Goliath, but for the owner, it was a matter of principle. Suit was filed against one of the largest law firms in the State—the Office of the Attorney General—suing perhaps the most powerful entity in the state—the State of Ohio itself. After years and years of litigation in multiple courts throughout Ohio, we were successful for more than 300,000 small Ohio companies. We obtained a verdict for them of more than $640 million dollars, and the case was then settled for one of the largest amounts in Ohio history, $420 million dollars. The best part was seeing the result for the smallest mom and pop Ohio companies that had been cheated; some actually cried when they got the news, because the money they would receive from our settlement would let them stay in business.
It is up to you. Check your bills carefully. Why are you getting a medical bill, when the state was supposed to pay for the service under Medicaid or Caresource? Why is the state demanding you pay them part of your auto accident settlement, even though your insurance (for which you responsibly pay premiums every year) took care of the bill? Ask questions about changes in government services you suddenly experience. Challenge the sudden drop in the amount of your state PERS pension. Be skeptical of the ‘penalty’ or ‘extra fee’ you find on your muny light bill, or from a so-called ‘speed camera’ ticket. Call us about an agency holding back benefits you should have received, but inexplicably did not. Those government actions are not always legal. But class actions, coupled with a powerful Ohio court system, are ready to stop the wrongdoing. If is deals with ANY government agency or service, local, county state or federal, call us if something seems wrong. We review your problem for no charge, and only take a fee if we win for you. We are one of the top firms in successfully suing government agencies for people like you, and small businesses like yours. IF you are a lawyer, call us for similar questions your clients may ask you from time to time in this area. We are available for co-counsel on these, and most other class action matters.