The Ohio Supreme Court last week appointed a visiting judge from Franklin County to handle a Troy law firm’s request to disqualify a Miami County Municipal Court judge from its cases.
The firm of Lopez, Severt & Pratt filed the request to disqualify Judge Elizabeth Gutmann on March 28 in Municipal Court, claiming she has engaged in campaigning for a county Common Pleas Court judicial candidate.
One of the judicial candidates, Jeannine Pratt, is the wife of firm member Andrew Pratt.
Andrew Pratt signed the affidavit of disqualification that claims Gutmann has engaged in political activity on behalf of the second judicial candidate, Stacy Wall. The affidavit further alleges the judge made derogatory comments regarding the law firm’s character. Attorney Robert Huffman Jr., also of Troy, now represents the law firm.
Gutmann filed an entry denying allegations of bias, prejudice and impartiality, saying she can remain impartial in regard to all cases involving the firm.
The request for disqualification was sent to the presiding Common Pleas Court judge.
Judge W. McGregor Dixon, juvenile court judge and presiding judge, April 7 asked the Supreme Court to appoint a judge “due to the possible appearance of a conflict of interest.”
Judge Dale Anthony Crawford will handle the request. He is a retired Franklin County judge.