Advocating for Equality in Ohio’s Highest Court
After serving in the United States Army as a combat medic, Marcus Pryor was honorably discharged in August of 2012. Upon his discharge, he applied for unemployment compensation through the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) and was granted benefits. However, seven months later the Director of ODJFS issued a redetermination and ordered Pryor to repay the benefits already received. Then, as allowed under Ohio law, Pryor decided to appeal the determination to the Unemployment Compensation Review Commission and when the Commission ruled in the Director’s favor, again sought to appeal the decision with the court of common pleas. Pryor was unfortunately not granted the appeal because he failed to list the Army as an interested party in his appeal, which meant that a small clerical error limited his access to a fair hearing.
Pryor subsequently appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court. The Legal Aid Society of Columbus (LASC) and other Legal Aid organizations across the state filed an Amicus Brief in support of Pryor. The Ohio Supreme Court allowed LASC attorney Kathleen McGarvey time during oral argument. In May 2016, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in Pryor’s favor, explaining that Pryor had completed his duty to ensure he was granted an appeals hearing by simply filing the appeal on time. This decision by the Ohio Supreme Court provides a step in the right direction to ensure that all individuals tackling important legal issues will not be sidelined by administrative nuances that only those well versed in the law can understand. LASC is proud to have assisted Pryor in his case, and commends his hard work in front of the highest court in the state. Moving forward, we remain strongly committed to justice and our mission to advocate for equality in a complex legal system.