Ohio Supreme Court Rejects City of Cleveland Appeal, Allows Possible Cleveland Public Power Class Action Lawsuit to Proceed

A possible class action lawsuit against Cleveland Public Power may proceed - CPP
A possible class action lawsuit against Cleveland Public Power may proceed

The Ohio Supreme Court this week declined to hear the city of Cleveland's appeal of a lower court's ruling that a possible $188-million class action lawsuit filed in 2015 against Cleveland Public Power over the utility's use of "environmental and ecological adjustment" charges can proceed.

Cleveland filed the appeal earlier this year asking the state's highest court to take jurisdiction of the issue. An appeals court overturned an earlier Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court ruling last year that had thrown out the suit. The 8th District, in its ruling, said that the city ordinance at question, which was written in the 1970s at the height of environmental concerns, didn't give Cleveland Public Power free reign to recoup any expense it wished via charges to customer bills.

The city had argued the ordinance allowed it to "recover a portion of the costs it incurred for purchase and installation of power supply apparatus necessitated by its growth."

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs argue, and will now be allowed to continue their argument back in Cuyahoga County after the city's last appeal efforts failed, that CPP improperly charged customers $188 million to generate cash and stay competitive with FirstEnergy using the environmental charge as a cover without hewing to its guidelines that it be used only to recover costs associated with environmental protection.