In addition to all other remedies for the collection of any taxes or penalties due under law, whenever any taxes, fees, or penalties due from any public utility have remained unpaid for a period of ninety days, or whenever any public utility has failed for a period of ninety days to make any report or return required by law, or to pay any penalty for failure to make or file such report or return, the attorney general, upon the request of the tax commissioner, shall file a petition in the court of common pleas in the county of the state in which such public utility has its principal place of business for a judgment for the amount of the taxes and penalties appearing to be due, the enforcement of any lien in favor of the state, and an injunction to restrain such public utility and its officers, directors, and managing agents from the transaction of any business within this state, other than such acts as are incidental to liquidation or winding up, until the payment of such taxes, fees, penalties, and the costs of the proceeding, which shall be fixed by the court, or the making and filing of such report or return.
Such petition shall be in the name of the state. All or any of the public utilities having their principal places of business in the county may be joined in one suit. On the motion of the attorney general, the court of common pleas shall enter an order requiring all defendants to answer by a day certain, and may appoint a special master commissioner to take testimony, with such other power and authority as the court confers, and permit process to be served by certified mail and by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the county, which publication need not be made more than once, setting forth the name of each delinquent public utility, the matter in which such public utility is delinquent, the names of its officers, directors, and managing agents, if set forth in the petition, and the amount of any taxes, fees, or penalties claimed to be owing by said public utility.
All of the officers, directors, shareholders, or managing agents of any public utility may be joined as defendants with such public utility.
If it appears to the court upon hearing that any public utility which is a party to such proceeding is indebted to the state for taxes, fees, or penalties, judgment shall be entered therefor with interest, which shall be computed at the rate per annum prescribed by section 5703.47 of the Revised Code; and if it appears that any public utility has failed to make or file any report or return, a mandatory injunction may be issued against such public utility, its officers, directors, and managing agents, as such enjoining them from the transaction of any business within this state, other than acts incidental to liquidation or winding up, until the making and filing of all proper reports or returns and the payment in full of all taxes, fees, and penalties.
If the officers, directors, shareholders, or managing agents of a public utility are not made parties in the first instance, and a judgment or an injunction is rendered or issued against such public utility, such officers, directors, shareholders, or managing agents, or any of them, may be made parties to such proceedings upon the motion of the attorney general, and, upon notice to them of the form and terms of such injunction, they shall be bound thereby as fully as if they had been made parties in the first instance.
In any action authorized by this section, a statement of the commissioner or the secretary of state, when duly certified shall be prima-facie evidence of the amount of taxes, fees, or penalties due from any public utility, or of the failure of any public utility to file with the commissioner or the secretary of state any report required by law, and any such certificate of the commissioner or the secretary of state may be required in evidence in any such proceeding.
On the application of any defendant and for good cause shown, the court may order a separate hearing of the issues as to any defendant.
The costs of the proceeding shall be apportioned among the parties as the court deems proper.
The court in such proceeding may make, enter, and enforce such other judgments and orders and grant such other relief as is necessary or incidental to the enforcement of the claims and lien of the state.
In the performance of the duties enjoined by this section the attorney general may direct any prosecuting attorney to bring an action, as authorized by this section, in the name of the state with respect to any delinquent public utilities within the prosecuting attorney's county, and like proceedings and orders shall be had as if such action were instituted by the attorney general.
Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.28, HB 153, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2011.
Effective Date: 06-25-1982