State of Ohio Intervenes in Toledo Charter Amendment Case – Update from McMahon DeGulis, LLP

State of Ohio Intervenes in Toledo Charter Amendment Case

On May 24, 2019, the State of Ohio filed a Complaint against the City of Toledo for Declaratory Relief and Injunctive Relief concerning the Toledo Charter Amendment which created the Lake Erie Bill of Rights. Drewes Farms Partnership v. City of Toledo, Case No. 3:19 CV 00434-57, N.D. Oh.  Toledo voters passed the Charter Amendment on February 19, 2019 which created a myriad of unprecedented causes of action to pursue “polluters” of Lake Erie.  This Charter Amendment was initially challenged by a local farmer, Drewes Farms Partnership.

The State is alleging that the Toledo Charter Amendment violates the Ohio Constitution Art. XVIII, §3 because the State has the authority to issue permits under state law which is adversely impacted by the Charter Amendment.  Also, the State alleges that the Charter Amendment creates “rights” which conflicts with the State’s right to hold the waters of Lake Erie in trust for the public.

The State complaint also alleges that the Toledo Charter Amendment creates extra-territorial rights beyond the city limits and includes the right to regulate all sources of water pollution in Lake Erie. McMahon DeGulis LLP will continue to monitor this precedent-setting litigation. For more information, contact Greg DeGulis at