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Oakwood plaintiffs to receive checks from lawsuit

Published: Friday, January 11, 2019 @ 6:54 AM

            More than $200,000 in checks will be mailed out Friday to a group plaintiffs that won a class-action suit against the city of Oakwood regarding its Pre-Sale Inspection Program. STAFF
More than $200,000 in checks will be mailed out Friday to a group plaintiffs that won a class-action suit against the city of Oakwood regarding its Pre-Sale Inspection Program. STAFF(STAFF/FILE)

More than $200,000 in checks will be mailed out today to thousands of plaintiffs and the lawyers who won a class-action suit against the city of Oakwood regarding its Pre-Sale Inspection Program.

MORE: Oakwood must repay owners for inspections ruled unconstitutional

In November, Oakwood City Council agreed to pay $295,000 as a result of a lawsuit regarding the city’s Pre-Sale Inspection Program.

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About $73,000 will go to 1,055 plaintiffs to refund a $60 inspection fee, according to city officials. More than $200,000 will be spent covering attorney fees.

The inspection program required that properties pass an inspection by the city before being sold.

A lawsuit filed by the 1851 Center in federal court in May 2016 claimed the requirement was like a warrant-less search.

In February, Judge Thomas M. Rose in the Southern District of Ohio rejected the pre-sale inspections, granting a refund of inspection fees.

MORE: Barber who closed in Oakwood opens in new location in Dayton

“Checks will be mailed out on this Friday, January 11, so Oakwood residents and former residents should receive them the next week,” said Executive Director Maurice Thompson of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, which represented the homeowners in the federal suit.

An Oakwood statement said the case centered around a lack of a search warrant provision in the ordinance “that would allow for independent judicial review in the event that a property owner refused consent for the inspection.”

“Without that language, the ordinance appeared to mandate a minor misdemeanor criminal penalty for refusing an inspection,” the statement said.

In 1992, search warrant language was left out of the ordinance accidentally, according to Oakwood Law Director Rob Jacques.

“This was a scrivener’s error, a drafting mistake, that happened more than 25 years ago,” Jacques said. “Despite the court’s finding of liability, the ordinance was never implemented in an unconstitutional manner, and the city never had so much as a single complaint prior to this lawsuit.”