After reading through Ohio’s response (filed as a Motion to Dismiss requesting Summary Judgment) to Matt Dunlop’s Class Action Lawsuit, it’s my humble opinion that MPP Law has Ohio dead to rights with regard to the allegations in Mr. Dunlop’s Complaint.
Michael Dewine, Ohio Attorney General, postures (very weakly I might add) in his argument that the Ohio Court of Claims (where the suit was filed) does not have jurisdiction over child support matters. Dewine’s argument in my humble opinion is utterly baseless and is an absolute red herring that I suspect he prays (and not in a legal sense) the Court will take; hook, line and sinker.
Reason being, the lawsuit isn’t about Ohio collecting “child support” monies, it’s about Ohio seizing monies to which it had no legal authority to take. Monies that are in fact far in excess of those entangled in child support obligations that many noncustodial parents (aka obligors) have been court-ordered to pay.
Speaking bluntly, the State of Ohio is clearly stealing money from about 114,000 people. If you or I did that, we’d immediately be arrested and subsequently indicted, convicted and incarcerated for felony theft.
Also found in the State’s preposterous Motion to Dismiss, is the State arguing (in 12 very long, boring, and repetitive pages) that the Ohio Court of Claims lacks the necessary jurisdiction to make determination and orders concerning child support matters, and that’s a completely moot point. Moreover, anything to the contrary is not a foundation for any of the allegations made by Dunlop in his Complaint. So again, the State argues with nothing more than a straw man.
Dunlop’s lawsuit isn’t about child support or “child support matters,” it’s about Ohio stealing monies that you and I would assuredly go to jail for taking, if it were us who were in fact doing the stealing.
As if the aforementioned weren’t ridiculous enough, Ohio Attorney General Michael Dewine argues that perhaps such “overpayments” should be “held for future expenses”. Really? Mr. Dewine, please direct me to where in Ohio statutes, any judge is granted statutory authority to retain illegally seized monies should a currently unknown but possible future expense be incurred?
In Dewine’s Memorandum in Support of his Motion to Dismiss, he once again argues, “…this Court does not have jurisdiction over child support.” Again, I must point out that Dunlop’s case is not about the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS) collecting child support, but rather it’s only about ODJFS taking money that has nothing to do with child support and it’s therefore “stealing” under threats of arrest and incarceration against those being stolen from.
In the last paragraph on page five, Dewine argues that Dunlop’s assertion that ODJFS intentionally misrepresented the true status of his account (by reporting his balance as “$0″ online) is undercut. That, because Dunlop admits that after he requested a written summary of his account, it was provided to him and it “clearly showed” an overpayment. So for those who don’t know they’re overpaid? Well too bad I guess that some will forever be out that money, but no harm done because they never knew right? Is that not how it works Mr. Dewine?
Do you see how that despicable thievery by the State of Ohio appears to be justified in Mr. Dewine’s eyes? His argument is that because Dunlop was provided an accurate written summary of his account only after he requested it, the State is not intentionally misrepresenting the status of his and another 114,000 or so other obligor accounts.
Dewine completely ignores the fact that 1. Online, Dunlop’s balance says “$0.”
2. When Dunlop would inquire about his balance over the phone, he was told his balance was “$0.” 3. Had Dunlop not asked for a written summary of his account, would he have ever known he was overpaid by more than $1,000 as he is? Do truth, honesty and integrity matter to Dewine or the State of Ohio? Need I really answer that?
I find Mr. Dewine’s defense of ODJFS’ practice of intentionally hiding overpayments from obigors to be utterly vile, immoral, despicable and completely void of character and integrity. As if the State stealing non-child support related money from obligors wasn’t immoral enough, Dewine then defends the State’s practice of hiding the money from those they stole it from.
Has society degenerated and thereby descended into such an immoral abyss that such a practice is carried out not only without even a hint of shame, but it’s also actually defended by a State’s Attorney General who by definition is a state’s chief law enforcement officer?
After reading through Dewine’s entire motion, one can easily see that the basis of Ohio’s request for Summary Judgment is such that the Ohio Court of Claims lacks jurisdiction over “child support matters,” but such an argument is completely irrelevant as I explained.
Worse yet, is that Dewine defends Ohio’s practice of deceiving obligors about being overpaid thousands of dollars in child support and falsely claims that such people can “find relief” in a Court of Domestic Relations. That at it’s core is a bald face lie that’s shown to be so whereby Dewine is convicted by his own words as explained in the forthcoming.
In the second to last paragraph on page two he says in reference to the Court, “…exercise its discretion in determining whether or not the overpayment should be retained for future potential expenses.”
Do you understand what he’s alluding to? The fact that a Domestic Relations Court will decide if an overpayment will be returned to an obligor, or simply kept because some unknown (at that time) and possible (but not identified) expense may arise in the future. In such cases,the obligor won’t get their money back that was wrongfully taken from them to begin with.
I personally was nearly $8,000 overpaid in my child support obligation at one time. That’s close to $8,000 of which I need now to buy a reliable car that we’re in desperate need of. However, that “remedy” that Dewine alludes to has been explored by me, and it cost me nearly $5,000 in legal fees to ask the Court for permission to get my own money back. How many of you can just do without $8,000 of your own money, and especially in these terrible economic times?
The Court’s response? I may pay $100 per month less in my monthly “child support” payment until that $8,000 is down to $0. As if doing without that money and having it returned to me gradually (which wasn’t how it was taken) over the course of the nearly seven years it’ll take for me to get those funds back isn’t bad enough, I must also pay the State of Ohio a 2% processing fee ($160) to get my own money back. Moreover, if the obligee under my order were to suddenly vacate the earth prior to me getting my $8,000 back or if there were a change of custody before that overpayment was $0, my wife, my daughter and myself would forever be out that money.
Is that fair, equitable and just? I think not and truly hope that you feel the same way. Is that in my daughter’s “best interest?” Of course it’s not. There are many things I’d love to do with her as well as buy her with that money (which is mine of course), but I can’t, because I can’t get it back.
It’s not in mine, nor is it in my family’s best interest that I don’t get my money back. But what it is in, is Ohio’s best financial interest (and that at the expense of my daughter’s best interest) to wrongfully seize that money to begin with, then to charge me a 2% processing fee (that Ohio collects) so that I can have my own money back.
Am I such a prude that only I define Ohio’s and Mike Dewine’s behavior as lawlessness given that it’s in my humble opinion no less than state sanctioned theft?
Ohio Council for Fathers Rights