Bedford Class Action Lawsuit Certified – Point of Sale Inspections, Rental Inspections, and Fees
For years the City of Bedford, Ohio and other municipalities in the Cleveland area have required homeowners to submit to point of sale inspections and/or rental inspections before being able to sell or rent real property within such city. These inspections are codified in the municipalities’ building or housing codes. Generally, the municipality requires the homeowner not only to submit to such an inspection but to pay fees associated with the inspection. In the city of Bedford, like many other municipalities, failing to submit to point of sale inspections or rental inspections subjected homeowners to criminal penalties for violating the city’s building and/or housing codes. A violation of the building or housing code is a first-degree misdemeanor in the City of Bedford. The Bedford inspection requirements prompted a lawsuit to be filed in federal court alleging, among other things, that Bedford’s municipal code regarding point of sale inspections and rental inspections violates the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and amounts to forcing homeowners to submit to warrantless searches. The federal case is captioned: Kenneth Pund, et al., v. City of Bedford, Ohio, et al., Case Number 1:16-CV-1076 in the United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, and is presided over by the Honorable Benita Y. Pearson.
In late July 2017, Judge Pearson certified Pund as a class action lawsuit against the City of Bedford challenging the city’s point of sale inspections, rental inspections, and the fees the city charges for those inspections.
The class certification in Pund opens the door to refunds for all residential and commercial property owners who were subjected to point of sale inspection fees and rental inspection fees in Bedford within a certain period of time between 2014 and 2017 (the full description of the two certified classes is included below). The number of inspections performed in Bedford has been extensive: in 2014, there were 535 rental inspections and 275 point of sale inspections, and in 2015 there were 483 rental inspections and 284 point of sale inspections. Bedford and numerous other municipalities have amended their statutes to remove point of sale inspections and rental inspections and the corresponding fees.
Pund was filed on behalf of Kenneth Pund, a local landlord who was prohibited from selling a home to his daughter, without first submitting to and passing Bedford’s inspections, even though his daughter was already occupying the home. The other plaintiff in Pund, John Diezic, was prohibited from selling his home unless he repaired minor cracks in the asphalt of his driveway.
In addition, a similar case is pending in a federal district court in Southern Ohio, challenging point of sale inspections in the City of Oakwood—a suburb of Dayton. The Oakwood case is captioned: Jason Thompson, et al. v. City of Oakwood, Ohio, et al., Case Number 3:16-CV-00169 in the United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio, Western Division. The Oakwood lawsuit was filed on behalf of Jason Thompson, a homeowner who was subjected to a point of sale inspection, even though he was only attempting to alter the title to his property.
Below is the list of class certification for the Pund lawsuit. If you believe you are a part of one of the classes below, please contact Lieberman, Dvorin & Dowd, LLC today to see if you qualify and can become a part of the class.
Subclass A: All individuals and businesses that have (1) been subjected to Point of Sale Inspections between September 10, 2014 and January 30, 2017; and (2) paid Points of Sale Inspection fees to the City of Bedford in conjunction with the aforesaid inspection(s).
Subclass B: All individuals and businesses that have (1) been subjected to rental inspections between September 10, 2014 and February 14, 2017; and (2) paid Rental Inspection fees to the City of Bedford in conjunction with the aforesaid inspection(s).