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Prevailing-wage lawsuit dismissed

Wednesday, May 18, 2011  03:07 AM

Ohio Supreme Court will not weigh in on a dispute over the payment of prevailing wages to workers on a school-construction project.

The justices unanimously dismissed a lawsuit yesterday challenging a decision by a board of education in northeastern Ohio to mandate prevailing wages, as was state policy at the time.

The high court decided that it never should have agreed to hear the case. No reason was given.

During oral arguments before the court last month, the justices questioned whether any issues remained to be resolved. They noted that construction was nearly complete and that the Kasich administration had rescinded a state requirement that prevailing wage must be paid on school projects financed in part through the Ohio School Facilities Program.

An unsuccessful contract bidder and the Northern Ohio Chapter of Associated Builders & Contractors Inc. had filed suit in 2009 after the Barberton Board of Education requested bids for a middle-school construction project. Following state policy, the board required that any contractor seeking the work agree to pay its workers prevailing wage.

The plaintiffs asked the court to stop the project, contending the board had no legal authority to make the requirement.

A Summit County judge dismissed the case, finding the plaintiffs had no standing to sue, and an appeals court upheld the ruling.

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