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Brad is a partner in Porter Wright’s Litigation Department and chairs the firm’s Appellate Practice Group. He represents clients in appeals, original actions and complex commercial litigation. Brad has assisted oil and gas clients and electric utilities in appeals before the Supreme Court of Ohio and in regulatory matters before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

Although this appellate blog focuses primarily on civil appeals, every now and then the Ohio Supreme Court issues a noteworthy opinion in a criminal case that addresses a legal doctrine equally significant to civil attorneys and their business clients. The court’s Oct. 21, 2021, decision in State v. Hubbard is just such a criminal case. Why? Because the split decision reflects a deep divide on the court on the appropriate way to analyze retroactive laws – statutes that are intended to reach back in time and apply to persons or circumstances predating the law’s effective date. This issue arises with frequency on the civil side of the practice. For example, one of the cases I worked on for former Justice Cook during my clerkship years ago, Bielat v. Bielat, involved a retroactive law about beneficiary designations in IRAs, and is cited in Hubbard. 
Continue Reading When the General Assembly reaches back in time: Analyzing retroactive laws

Back in the late 1990s when I attended the University of Dayton School of Law, I had the opportunity to serve as an extern at Ohio’s Second District Court of Appeals for a few months. I remember the court administrator telling me that one focus of my externship would be helping the judges decide whether the appellants in newly filed appeals were appealing from final, appealable orders. I recall thinking to myself – naively – “How hard can that really be?” Little did I know how vexing that particular question would become not only during my externship, but also throughout my legal career. A recent (and split) decision from the Ohio Supreme Court in Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow v. Ohio State Board of Education (ECOT) illustrates just how tricky the concept of finality truly can be, and how judges can disagree sharply on whether or not a given order is both final and appealable under Ohio law.   
Continue Reading Sure, the order is ‘final,’ but is it a final appealable order?