Court: Vermilion can't use exemption to hide legal bills

The state’s highest court on Wednesday dealt a blow to blanket attorney-client privilege exemptions for private law firms that bill governments for services.
Jessica Cuffman
Nov 21, 2012


The court made the decision in regard to a case filed by former Vermilion Mayor Jean Anderson after the city's finance and law departments, citing attorney-client privilege, refused to show her itemized billing statements for work the city paid two private law firms in 2010.

Click below to see a copy of the Ohio Supreme Court ruling in the lawsuit filed by Anderson.
Get a copy of Thursday’s Register to find out Anderson’s reaction to the ruling.



Good for the Vermilion Mayor for standing her ground. Sometimes you just have to take the case to court to prove the point about public reoords. The city declined the whole request when all they had to do is redact some parts and still preserve the integrity of the billing. I wonder with this case on the books if the Register can go back and request the Nuessee case billing. We never did find out how much was billed to the attorneys.


I would think they could. This is precedent setting. let's find out what our city paid for Nuessee

Julie R.

This is the very same Lorain County law firm ~ Stumphauzer & O'Toole ~ that also represented MetroParks in the Huron River Greenway fiasco --- the fiasco that ended up costing the Erie County taxpayers 3.5 million. Considering how Jean Anderson filed a lawsuit against them for refusing to provide itemized billing statements of what they have been charging the Vermilion taxpayers, is it a pretty safe bet to say they never provided itemized billing statements during the 20-year MetroParks fiasco, either?


This is GREAT. Maybe now some of the so called "classified billing" documents that lawyers have tried to hide in the past will be turned over so the public can finally see just how much has actually been billed and for what.

Good for the supreme court for doing what SHOULD have been done at the local level.

Take THAT Erie County courts! You just got a spanking from the Supreme Court. Take notes, it may not be the last one you get when it comes to unlocking court documents for the public for all to see.

Julie R.

I agree --- take THAT Erie County courts! Sort of makes up for all the other illegal crap that the Erie County courts and that Lorain County law firm (not to mention Huronites) DO get away with.

Julie R.

As I said before, attorneys use that attorney/client privilege crap for just about everything. I even heard it right after the death of my mother, which is when I found a fraud quitclaims deed filed in the Erie County Recorder dated 7 months before her death when she was totally incompetent. The fraud quitclaims deed falsely stated that a couple of Huronites were her power of attorneys (when I knew they sure weren't) and it also falsely stated that there was a power of attorney on file in the Erie County Recorder but there sure wasn't. When I asked the recorder where the power of attorney was, she said: "Duh.....I don't know. Those aren't even our numbers......all our numbers begin with the year they are filed." The fraud quitclaims deed also said it was prepared by a Lorain County attorney that I never heard of before from a Lorain County law firm that I never heard of before, either. When I contacted the Lorain County attorney, his response was: "I don't have to tell you anything, lady. You aren't my client. Ever hear of the attorney/client privilege?" My response was: "Attorney/client privelege? So who may I ask was your client because it sure wasn't MY MOTHER." I also asked him where the power of attorney was that was falsely stated to be on file in the Erie County Recorder. His response again was --- "I don't have to tell you anything, lady!" .... and he hung up on me.

So does this mean snake attorneys can't use that attorney/client privilege crap to cover up their involvement in crimes against the elderly any longer, also?

Julie R.

It's not only attorneys that use that attorney/client privilege crap --- when it comes to corrupt Erie County even financial institutions are using it. Like the Huron insurance agent that tried to tell me that my mother's 9 contracts were all cancelled due to lack of payment during the 11 months she was in a nursing home --- who then tried to say that due to the privacy act and the privacy of their deceased client's records they couldn't release the records that proved it. The goon Chicago attorneys for the insurance company then came up with another good one --- they couldn't release any records without authorization from the decedent's two Huronite power of attorneys. (power of attorneys, even fraud ones, are null and void after a person's death) After the attorneys filed a forged Will in the probate court (that I found out later was different then the one they filed with the Medicaid office) the goon attorneys from the insurance company then came up with another one --- they said they couldn't release any records without authorization from the executor named in the forged Will -- the spouse, the fraud power of attorneys wealthy old Italian stepfather. The next thing the goon attorneys did --- they filed a motion with the probate court requesting that the court allow them not to release the records and the probate court of course allowed it.