The Law Department of the City of Lakewood, under the direction of the City’s law director, functions as the attorney for the City of Lakewood and its officials by providing legal advice to the mayor, city council and all of the various departments. The Law Department represents the City in all court proceedings and before any administrative body. The law department prepares legislation, contracts and all legal documents to ensure all business of the City is conducted in a proper and legal manner, and serves the city government in meeting its strategic objectives.
Duties of the Law Department
The duties of the Law Department can be divided into two categories, civil and criminal, each of which is a different function.
1. Civil Duties
The Law Department serves as legal counsel and advisor to the City, its agencies, departments, boards, commissions and all of its officials. As legal advisor, the department prepares all legal documents, legislation and contracts and renders both formal and informal legal opinions. In addition, the department performs those duties defined and required by the city charter as well as those specified by the Ohio Revised Code.
The department represents the City’s interests in all civil and administrative proceedings. It files lawsuits and pursues claims on behalf of the City, and it also defends the City and its boards, commissions and officials in any proceeding where they may be named as parties.
Among its other responsibilities, the Law Department represents the City in damage and injury claims made against the City; defends allegations of civil rights violations and allegations of unconstitutionality; initiates suits for collection of taxes; files actions to enforce City ordinances including zoning and building codes; pursues damage claims by the City against persons who have damaged City property; and represents the City in public nuisance abatement proceedings, as well as federal bankruptcy and state court foreclosure proceedings.
The Law Department also represents the City as a municipal corporation in real estate development transactions and operational matters, as well as being responsible for certain filing and revivals of liens. It also drafts and approves proposed ordinances, resolutions, deeds, leases, contracts, legal pleadings and briefs. The Law Department represents the interests of Lakewood’s government in administrative proceedings before regulatory agencies.
The department also processes all insurance claims and recommends payment or settlement of those claims deemed proper. Please call the Law Department at (216) 529-6030 if you would like more information about submitting a civil claim for damages to be reviewed.
2. Criminal Duties
The Law Department prosecutes all criminal actions in the Lakewood Municipal Court. Most people come into contact with the Law Department on criminal or traffic cases. The prosecutor and the assistant prosecutor handle all criminal matters that occur in the City. Criminal matters include misdemeanor as well as felony cases that are processed through the Lakewood Municipal Court and receive a final disposition in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. The Law Department is also responsible for obtaining temporary protection orders in cases of domestic violence and other similar crimes.
Complaints must be initiated by making a report with the Lakewood Division of Police. The Law Department does not take complaints. The Law Department will follow up in appropriate cases with prosecution.
In addition, the Law Department provides a mediation program for dispute resolution. Mediation is most suitable for situations that involve individuals who have an ongoing or interpersonal relationship such as neighbors, coworkers, family members, and friends. Ordinarily this program is most successful when the parties are motivated to resolve their differences because they will continue to come in contact with each other in their neighborhoods, at work, at home and elsewhere. This service is a timely, cost-efficient and satisfying alternative to litigation. If the parties are unable or unwilling to participate in mediation they may obtain private legal counsel and submit their dispute to the courts.
- Click here to view the current Charter of the City of Lakewood
The City of Lakewood is deeply committed to promoting non-discrimination; affirmatively furthering fair housing choice; enforcing local, state, and federal fair housing law; identifying and eliminating barriers to fair housing choice; disseminating information regarding fair housing rights and obligations; and ensuring residents and those seeking accommodations in Lakewood enjoy equal access to decent, safe, affordable housing.
The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of Race, Color, Religion, Gender, National Origin, Disability and Familial Status.
Chapter 516 of Lakewood’s Codified Ordinances expands the list of protected classes from (7) to (9) by prohibiting discrimination in housing on the basis of both Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity or Expression.
FAIR HOUSING COMPLAINT ASSISTANCE
City of Lakewood
If you are a Lakewood resident and believe your fair housing rights have been violated, please complete Lakewood’s Fair Housing Complaint Information Form and contact:
Fair Housing Officer
The Housing Research & Advocacy Center also processes fair housing complaints on behalf of Lakewood residents.
Additional Fair Housing Complaint Resources
U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development
- Online Complaint Form
- Housing Discrimination Complaint iOS App
- Housing Discrimination Complaint Android App
ANALYSIS OF IMPEDIMENTS TO FAIR HOUSING CHOICE (AI)
As a recipient of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Lakewood must affirmatively further fair housing choice. The city’s Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice (AI) is critical to meeting this obligation.
The AI process involves a thorough examination of a variety of sources related to housing, affirmatively furthering fair housing, the fair housing delivery system and housing transactions, particularly for persons who are protected under fair housing law. AI sources include census data, employment and income information, home mortgage application data, federal and state fair housing complaint information, surveys of housing industry experts and stakeholders, and related information found in the public domain.
An AI also includes an active and involved public input and review process via direct contact with stakeholders, public forums to collect input from citizens and interested parties, distribution of draft reports for citizen review and formal presentations of findings and actions the city will undertake to overcome the identified impediments.
FAIR HOUSING ACTION PLAN
Lakewood’s Fair Housing Action Plan sets forth specific actions the city will take to affirmatively further fair housing and address the impediments to fair housing choice identified in the Analysis of Impediments.
LAKEWOOD HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
Lakewood’s Human Rights Commission (HRC) was established in 2016 as part of the city’s comprehensive Human Rights Ordinance which protects citizens from discrimination in the areas of housing, employment, education, and public accommodations. The HRC receives, initiates, investigates, conciliates, and adjudicated complaints alleging unlawful discrimination and partners with community stakeholders in the development of education and outreach programs regarding equal opportunity and fair housing choice. The commission is comprised of Lakewood’s Director of Planning & Development (or his or her designee); a mayoral appointee; and a City Council appointee and members may serve one three year term.
FAIR HOUSING LINKS
Please contact the Cleveland Legal Aid Society’s (https://lasclev.org/) Tenant Information Line at (216) 861-5955 for information and assistance regarding tenants’ rights and landlord responsibilities under Ohio Landlord Tenant Law.
Tenants can call between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and leave a message with their name, phone number and brief description of their housing question. Someone will call back within 24 business hours.
For access to quick housing help, see the info below available by text message and online.
- Tenant Information Line: Call 216.861.5955
- Respond to eviction complaint: Text FAQ EVICTION to 216.242.1544
- Return of security deposit: Text FAQ DEPOSIT to 216.242.1544
- How to rent deposit: Text FAQ REPAIRS to 216.242.1544
- Lead poisoning information: Text FAQ LEAD to 216.242.1544
- For other housing information: Visit https://lasclev.org/category/faqs/housing-faqs/
- How to Rent Deposit when Housing Conditions are a Problem
- Ohio Landlord-Tenant Law: The Basics
- Lead Poisoning: Rights, Remedies & Resources
- Free Legal Advice Clinics 2019
Law Related Links+-
Click here to view the legal notices for the City of Lakewood.
Click here for information about the city’s Mediation Program.
Public Record Requests+-
Click here to make a public record request.
Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)+-
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), enacted on July 26, 1990, provides comprehensive rights and protections to individuals with disabilities in the areas of employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, and telecommunications, and prohibits state and local governments from discriminating on the basis of disability.
In accordance with ADA Title II requirements, the City of Lakewood does not discriminate on the basis of disability in the admission, access, or operations of its programs, services, activities, or facilities and promotes equal opportunity and full participation for all residents and visitors. Moreover, the City continually strives to eliminate barriers that may prevent persons with disabilities from access to or participation in City programs, services, activities, and facilities.
Qualified disabled individuals shall not be excluded from participating in, or denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination in any programs or activities sponsored by this public entity.
Requests for Reasonable Accommodation
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), and related federal and state laws and regulations forbid discrimination against those who have disabilities and require federal aid recipients and other government entities to take affirmative steps to reasonably accommodate the disabled. As such, individuals with disabilities may request reasonable accommodations to access City facilities, programs, and/or services.
An individual is considered a person with a disability if he or she has 1) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; or 2) has a record of such impairment; or 3) is regarded as having such impairment. Major life activities include, but are not limited to, functions such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.
Examples of auxiliary aids or services which may be provided as a reasonable accommodation include, but are not limited to, extra staff assistance; interpreters; assistive listening devices; information in large print, Braille, audible or electronic documents; TTYs; paper and pen.
Lakewood makes every effort to ensure City facilities, programs, services, and activities are accessible to those with disabilities and its advisory committees and public involvement activities include representation by the disabled community and disability service groups. Furthermore, the City will provide reasonable accommodation to disabled individuals who wish to participate in public involvement events or who require special assistance to access City facilities, programs, services, or activities.
If you require reasonable accommodation to access facilities, programs, or services please complete the City’s ADA Title II Request for Reasonable Accommodation Form.
ADA Title II Grievance Procedure
The City of Lakewood hereby establishes an ADA Title II Grievance Procedure that meets the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; provides for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging actions prohibited by the U.S. Department of Justice regulating Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act; and may be utilized by anyone who wishes to file a complaint alleging discrimination on the basis of disability in the provision of City services, activities, programs, and/or benefits.
Complaints regarding access or related alleged discrimination must be submitted in writing or in appropriate format to the City for resolution. The complaint should include a detailed description of the alleged discriminatory action to inform the City of the nature and date of the alleged violation. The complaint must be signed by the complainant or by someone authorized to do so on his or her behalf.
- Grievances must be submitted to the City within (90) calendar days of the incident of alleged discrimination.
- Within fifteen (15) business days after receipt of the complaint a City official will meet with the complainant to discuss the complaint and possible resolution.
- The City will provide a written response to the complainant regarding the complaint in an appropriate format within fifteen (15) business days of the meeting.
If the City’s response not acceptable to the complainant, he/she or his/her authorized representative may, within 10 business days, submit to the City a written appeal describing why the proposed resolution is unsatisfactory to which the City will respond within 10 business days.
An individual’s right to prompt and equitable complaint resolution shall not impair his/her pursuit of other remedies, such as the filing of a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice or any other appropriate federal agency, or a court of competent jurisdiction. The use of this grievance procedure is not a prerequisite to the pursuit of other remedies.
A record of all complaints and action(s) taken by the City will be maintained on file.
If you wish to file a grievance regarding access to facilities, programs, or services please complete the City’s ADA Title II Grievance Form.