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REVISED STAY AT HOME ORDER CREATES DISPUTE RESOLUTION COMMISSION

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April 7, 2020

On April 6, 2020, Ohio Heath Director, Dr. Amy Acton signed a revised ‘Stay at Home Order’ which created a Dispute Resolution Commission to address businesses that operate in multiple jurisdictions throughout the State. These businesses may find themselves subject to conflicting orders from local health departments or other authorities enforcing the Stay at Home Order. Because the Stay at Home Order provides few bright line tests for when a business is essential, it gives substantial discretion to local health boards and law enforcement to determine whether businesses are in compliance with the Order. This risks uneven and inconsistent enforcement. For example, a health department in one county may deem a company’s manufacturing operations to be ‘Essential’ and thus able to operate under the order while a health department in another county might deem an identical manufacturing facility run by the same company as ‘Non-Essential’ and order that facility to close.

The Dispute Resolution Commission will evaluate and render guidance in situations where two local health departments have come to a different conclusion for similar businesses on what is or is not an essential business. Conflicts may be submitted to ODH by either of the local health departments or an entity or person subject to the determination.

The Dispute Resolution Commission will review the conflict and make a determination as to the application of the Order to the conflict. The Dispute Resolution Commission will not, however, issue advisory opinions to businesses and has jurisdiction only where there are conflicting orders from two or more health departments. The order does not provide any mechanism for an appeal from the decision of the Dispute Resolution Commission, and states that the decision of the Dispute Resolution Commission shall be final. It is unclear, however, whether a court might nevertheless have jurisdiction to overrule the Dispute Resolution Commission.

Persons wishing to bring a matter before the Dispute Resolution Commission may submit their dispute in writing themselves or through counsel using this Dispute Resolution Form and emailing it to Dispute.Resolution@odh.ohio.gov. The Governor’s Office has stated that it anticipates that the Dispute Resolution Commission will issue rulings within 24 hours of the dispute being submitted.

If you have any questions regarding the Dispute Resolution Commission, please contact Jay Carson at jrcarson@wegmanlaw.com.

For more information regarding the Dispute Resolution Commission, click here.

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