Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Court of Claims: ODOT Settles Nixed Rest Stop Area Advertising Deal

SFC Graphics Inc. v. Ohio Department of Transportation, Case No. 2015-00684

Triad Communications, Inc. v. Ohio Department of Transportation, Case No. 2015-00575

The Ohio Court of Claims approved a $170,000 settlement between the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and two northern Ohio advertising firms that alleged the department backed out of its deal to provide exclusive advertising at 10 roadside rest areas and welcome centers.

ODOT agreed to pay Triad Communications, Inc. of Cuyahoga Falls $125,000 and SFC Graphics of Toledo about $45,400 to settle a complaint for breach of contract.

The dispute is a result of a March 2012 request for proposal issued by ODOT for exclusive advertising and sponsorship rights at interstate rest areas and welcome centers in exchange for a favorable percentage of the revenues. Travelers Marketing, LLC won the bid and signed a contract with ODOT in August 2012. Travelers then later assigned the rights to Triad and SFC, two subcontractors who worked with Travelers on setting up the advertising displays.

The companies alleged the contract gave them exclusive rights to the market and to sell advertising at the rest areas, create large advertising displays, and launch a website to solicit advertisers to use the areas. After the companies installed the equipment, the Ohio Division of Travel and Tourism and the Ohio Development Services Agency complained to ODOT that it previously “closed” advertising to them at those sites. ODOT then agreed to allow the agencies to solicit advertising too. The companies claimed the divisions then contacted the advertisers using the new displays and instructed them to use the travel and tourism department ad program instead.

The companies argued this breached their contractual rights to be exclusive advertisers and claimed they already invested more than $168,000 to install and maintain the advertising displays. The companies filed suit with the Court of Claims in July 2015. The lawsuits were consolidated into one settlement that was approved on Nov. 13. As part of the settlement, ODOT does not admit to any wrongdoing, and all parties agree not to make further claims against the other.

The Court of Claims has exclusive jurisdiction over claims against the state. To access information on other cases visit the Court of Claims website.

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