Amelia Stower is the owner of Capital Care, a registered limited liability company (LLC) under Ohio law. Capital Care employs physicians and other licensed medical professionals who provide medication abortion care to their patients. Capital Care possesses a license from the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy to obtain, possess, and administer abortion-inducing pills on the premises. Ohio law permits LLCs like Capital Care to provide the services it renders.
Plaintiffs Right to Life Action Coalition of Ohio, Greater Toledo Area Right to Life, and Jeffrey Barefoot filed suit against Capital Care and Amelia Stower in the Wood County Court of Common Pleas seeking damages, injunctive relief, and a declaratory judgment on the ground that defendants are engaging in the practice of medicine without a license because neither Capital Care nor Amelia Stower holds a medical license.
Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit on Friday, March 5 but provided no notice to the defendants as is required by law. That afternoon, the judge held a hearing on the TRO motion with only plaintiffs’ side represented and took the matter under advisement.
In addition, plaintiffs filed the lawsuit in Wood County, which is an improper venue. No defendant is located in Wood County, and none of the actions on which the lawsuit is based occurred in that county. Accordingly, the case should be transferred to and heard in Lucas County, where venue would be proper.
All of the activities upon which the plaintiffs base their claim (the prescribing of abortifacients and the advertising of medical abortions) are consistent with Ohio’s statutory scheme regarding the practice of medicine by doctors who work for limited liability companies. The Ohio statute forbidding the unauthorized practice of medicine, (R.C. 4731.341(B)), which was invoked by the plaintiffs, applies only to the unauthorized practice of medicine by an individual, not by an LLC or its owner.
The Complaint and a Motion for TRO were filed in the Wood County Court of Common Pleas on March 3, 2021. A TRO hearing was held on March 5 before notice was given to Defendants of the case’s filing. The TRO was denied on March 8. We filed a Motion to Dismiss and Transfer Venue to move the case to the appropriate bench in Lucas County. The Venue Transfer was granted on April 23 and the Motion to Dismiss will be briefed and decided in Lucas County.
The case was transferred to the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas on May 4. Plaintiffs filed their Opposition to our Motion to Dismiss on May 10. We filed our reply on May 14 and now await a decision.