When the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) rebuilt a spillway near Grand Lake St. Marys in Celina it was a detriment to farmers downstream. It caused their farms to flood more frequently and to a greater extent. A landowner turned to Vorys, when ODNR offered our client only $220,000 for the 55% of his farmland that now regularly flooded. We took the matter to a jury trial and won nearly six times what was originally offered.
Following that initial decision, we fought on behalf of 85 landowners whose properties also frequently flooded because of the spillway. Their case went all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court, which ruled that government needed to pay each of the landowners for the flooded land.
After a year, the government didn’t act. We went back to the Ohio Supreme Court and demanded action for our clients. The Court found ODNR and its director in contempt and ordered it move quickly to pay the landowners. The Columbus Dispatch reported that this was the first time in Ohio’s history in which a cabinet official and state agency had been found in contempt.