(A) When a depositor has made a demand for settlement of an obligation concerning an agricultural commodity on which a fee was required to be remitted under section 926.16 of the Revised Code and the licensed handler is experiencing failure, as "failure" is defined in section 926.021 of the Revised Code, and has failed to honor the demand, the depositor, after providing the director of agriculture or the director's authorized representative with evidence of the depositor's demand and the dishonoring of that demand, may file a claim with the director not later than six months after dishonor of the demand for indemnification of the depositor's damages, from the agricultural commodity depositors fund, to be measured as follows:
(1) The commodity advisory commission created in section 926.32 of the Revised Code shall establish the dollar value of the loss incurred by a depositor holding a receipt or a ticket for agricultural commodities on which a fee was required and that the depositor delivered to the handler under a delayed price agreement, bailment agreement, or feed agreement, or that the depositor delivered to the handler before delivery was due under a contract or other agreement between the depositor and handler. The value shall be based on the fair market price being paid to producers by handlers for the commodities on the date on which the director received notice that the receipt or ticket was dishonored by the handler. All depositors filing claims under this division shall be bound by the value determined by the commission.
(2) The dollar value of the loss incurred by a depositor who has sold or delivered for sale, exchange, or solicitation or negotiation for sale agricultural commodities on which a fee was required and who is a creditor of the handler for all or a part of the value of the commodities shall be based on the amount stated on the obligation on the date of the sale.
(B) The agricultural commodity depositors fund shall be liable to a depositor for any moneys that are owed to the depositor for commodities deposited with a licensed handler pursuant to a transaction for which the handler must remit a fee under division (B) of section 926.16 of the Revised Code and that are not recovered through other legal and equitable remedies as follows:
(a) The liability of the fund shall equal one hundred per cent of the depositor's loss as determined under division (A)(1) of this section if any of the following applies:
(i) The commodities were stored with the handler under a bailment agreement.
(ii) Payment for the commodities was tendered by the handler and subsequently dishonored, such as payment by a check for which there were insufficient funds or by a check that was written on an account that was frozen by the financial institution.
(iii) The commodities were priced at the time of delivery to the handler, the delivery occurred not more than thirty days prior to the director's suspension of the handler's license under division (E), (G), or (H) of section 926.10 of the Revised Code, and the handler failed to pay for the commodities on or before the date on which the suspension occurred.
(iv) The commodities were priced at the time of delivery to the handler, the delivery occurred not more than ninety days prior to the director's suspension of the handler's license under division (E), (G), or (H) of section 926.10 of the Revised Code, the commodities were subject to a written agreement for deferred payment by the handler not later than ninety days following the date of delivery, and the handler failed to pay for the commodities on or before the payment date established in the written agreement.
(b) If the deposit of commodities that were the subject of the depositor's loss involves circumstances other than those described in division (B)(1)(a) of this section, the liability of the fund shall equal one hundred per cent of the first ten thousand dollars of the loss and eighty per cent of the remaining dollar value of that loss as determined under divisions (A)(1) and (2) of this section.
(2) The aggregate amount recovered by a depositor under all remedies shall not exceed one hundred per cent of the value of the depositor's loss. If the moneys recovered by a depositor under all remedies exceed one hundred per cent of the value of the depositor's loss, the depositor shall reimburse the fund in the amount that exceeds the value of that loss.
(C) The director, with the approval of the commodity advisory commission, shall determine the validity of all claims presented against the fund. A claim filed under this section for losses on agricultural commodities other than commodities stored under a bailment agreement shall not be valid unless the depositor has made a demand for settlement of the obligation within twelve months after the commodities are priced. Any depositor whose claim has been refused by the director and the commission may appeal the refusal either to the court of common pleas of Franklin county or the court of common pleas of the county in which the depositor resides.
The director shall provide for payment from the fund to any depositor whose claim has been found to be valid.
(D) If at any time the fund does not contain sufficient assets to pay valid claims, the director shall hold those claims for payment until the fund again contains sufficient assets. Claims against the fund shall be paid in the order in which they are presented and found to be valid.
(E) If a depositor files an action for legal or equitable remedies in a state or federal court having jurisdiction in those matters that includes a claim against agricultural commodities upon which the depositor may file a claim against the fund at a later date, the depositor also shall file with the director a copy of the action filed with the court.
In the event of payment of a loss under this section, the director shall be subrogated to the extent of the amount of any payments to all rights, powers, privileges, and remedies of the depositor against any person regarding the loss.
The depositor shall render all necessary assistance to aid the director in securing the rights granted in this section. No action or claim initiated by the depositor and pending at the time of payment from the fund may be compromised or settled without the consent of the director.
(F) If, prior to June 20, 1994, a lawsuit, adversary proceeding, or other legal proceeding is brought against a depositor to recover money or payments from funds to which a depositor has a right of indemnification under this section, and the depositor retains legal counsel resulting in a cost or expense to the depositor, upon the rendering of a judgment or other resolution of the lawsuit, adversary proceeding, or other legal proceeding, the director, in the director's discretion and with the approval of the commodity advisory commission, may authorize indemnification from the fund for attorney's fees paid by the depositor. Any claim made by a depositor for the payment of attorney's fees under this division shall be made in the same manner as a claim under division (A) of this section.
Attorney's fees payable under this division shall be limited to the actual hourly fee charged or one hundred dollars per hour, whichever is less, and to a total maximum amount of three hundred dollars.
Effective Date: 03-22-2001; 11-05-2004