Taxpayer suits frequently challenge municipal government action, but when they fail to state a viable claim, even when assuming all of the facts alleged are true, they should be summarily dismissed. Along with Kevin Butler, Lakewood’s Law Director, Sutter O’Connell attorney Robert Cahill obtained a full dismissal of taxpayer claims against the City of Lakewood concerning the enforcement of contracts under which Lakewood Hospital was operated. Suit was filed in the midst of the City’s investigation of the future of healthcare in light of significant mounting financial losses at Lakewood Hospital.
The City was able to establish in lengthy briefs that Mayor Summers and City Council lawfully exercised the corporate powers of the City. The taxpayer complaint was found to lack any legal basis to support the claims that the Mayor and City Council acted unlawfully leading to the complete dismissal of this suit. A copy of the Court’s 38 page opinion can be found here.
This was the second dismissal that Cahill and Butler obtained for the City of Lakewood in suits involving Lakewood Hospital. In Skindell v. Madigan, plaintiff sought an injunction to stop City Council from voting to close Lakewood Hospital, but a directed verdict was obtained at trial hours before City Council voted to close the hospital and a mere three days after suit was filed. Cahill and Butler were also successful in persuading the Cuyahoga County Court of Appeals that an appeal of the trial court’s ruling was moot because Lakewood voters approved the City’s ordinance to close the hospital in a 2016 referendum.