A judge has ruled that The Early Bird, a free-circulation Sunday newspaper, qualifies to publish legal notices in Darke County. As many of you know, ONA has been supporting Civitas Media’s case on behalf of the Daily Advocate vs. The Early Bird.  Earlier appeals resulted in the trial judge being ordered to reconsider the case.

The ruling by Darke County Judge Jonathan Hein is based on specific interpretations of the statutory requirements to qualify for notices, particularly the requirements on “ability to add subscribers to a distribution list” and having a legitimate, outside audit if there is no postal permit.

ONA has not had an opportunity to fully analyze the decision, and we do not know if Civitas will appeal. However, members should be aware that the decision as it stands eases the qualifications for free-circulation newspapers to publish notices. The court did not adopt our argument that some paid circulation is a requirement under the law.

If you would like the ONA to help with an initial analysis of how a newspaper may or may not meet the qualifications of Ohio Revised Code, let us know.  Our Public Notices FAQ is available in the “members only” area of our website if you would like more detail on the specific requirements.

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