Articles Posted in Injury Law

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Dennis Carter sustained serious injuries when Larry Reese attempted to move a tractor-trailer that had pinned Carter’s leg between the trailer and a loading dock. Carter and his wife sued Reese. Reese asserted Ohio’s Good Samaritan statute as a defense. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Reese pursuant to the statute. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Reese was not liable in civil damages pursuant to Ohio’s Good Samaritan statute because (1) Reese administered emergency care at the scene of an emergency, and the statute expressly states that no person shall be liable in civil damages for acts performed at the scene of an emergency, and (2) no allegation of willful or wanton misconduct was asserted against Defendant. View "Carter v. Reese" on Justia Law

Posted in: Injury Law

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Plaintiff sustained injuries as a result of a motorcycle accident involving a Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company (CEI) utility pole. Plaintiff and his wife sued CEI, FirstEnergy Service Company (First Energy), and their parent company (collectively, Defendants), asserting, inter alia, claims for negligence and qualified nuisance. The jury returned a verdict for Plaintiffs on their qualified nuisance and loss of consortium claims but returned a verdict for CEI and FirstEnergy on the negligence claim. Defendants appealed, arguing that Turner v. Ohio Bell Tel. Co. provided an absolute bar to liability. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that, as a matter of law, CEI and FirstEnergy could not be held liable under any theory of liability asserted by Plaintiffs. View "Link v. FirstEnergy Corp." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs sued World Harvest Church (WHC) for claims arising from an incident involving Plaintiffs’ two-year-old son, who attended WHC’s daycare. Plaintiffs alleged that WHC’s employee had beaten their son with a knife. Final judgment was entered in favor of Plaintiffs in the amount of $2.87 million. The court of appeals affirmed. WHC subsequently filed suit against Grange Mutual Casualty Company, which insured WHC under a commercial liability insurance policy and an umbrella policy and had defended the matter but reserved its right to deny coverage. Plaintiffs alleged that Grange improperly refused to indemnify it for any portion of the judgment awarded to Plaintiffs. The trial court entered judgment in favor of WHC, finding that Grange was obligated to indemnify WHC in the amount of $1.47 million but that Grange was not responsible to indemnify WHC for the punitive damages awarded to Plaintiffs. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the abuse or molestation exclusion in the commercial liability insurance policy barred coverage for an award of damages based on WHC’s vicarious liability for intentional infliction of emotional distress arising from WHC’s employee’s abuse of Plaintiff’s son while in WHC’s care and custody; and (2) the policy did not provide coverage for an award of attorney fees and postjudgment interest. View "World Harvest Church v. Grange Mut. Cas. Ins. Co." on Justia Law

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Daniel Stolz worked for a subcontractor on a construction project when he was injured in an accident on the job site. Prior to the accident, Messer had obtained authority from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to act as the self-insuring employer on the project, which gave Messer responsibility for providing workers’ compensation coverage for its own employees as well as the employees of enrolled subcontractors on the project. Stolz brought negligence claims against Messer Construction, the general contractor, and several subcontractors. A federal district court granted summary judgment to Messer as the self-insuring employer but denied summary judgment to the subcontractors, concluding that an enrolled subcontractor on a self-insured construction project is immune from claims made by its own employees but not from those made by employees of other enrolled subcontractors. The federal court then certified a question of state law to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court answered that subcontractors enrolled in a self-insured construction project plan are immune from tort claims for workplace injuries from employees of other enrolled subcontractors on the same project. View "Stolz v. J & B Steel Erectors, Inc." on Justia Law

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Seventeen-year-old Kelli Baker was driving on a county road when one of her tires slipped off the right side of the road. The car hit a tree and caught on fire, killing Baker. Baker’s estate and parents filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Wayne County and its employees. The trial court granted summary judgment for Defendants. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the edge drop that existed on the county road at the time of Baker’s accident could give rise to Defendants’ liability under Ohio Rev. Code 2744.02(B)(3) for negligently failing to keep “public roads” in repair. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that an edge drop at the limit of a paved roadway is not part of “public road” as defined in Ohio Rev. Code 2744.01(H), and therefore, Plaintiffs’ claims were barred by sovereign immunity. View "Baker v. Wayne County" on Justia Law

Posted in: Injury Law

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Plaintiff was at Indian Lake State Park, which is open to the public without an admission charge, when he was seriously injured by a rock thrown by an Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) boom mower that struck him in the eye. Plaintiff sued ODNR for negligence. The court of claims granted summary judgment for ODNR, concluding that because Plaintiff was a recreational user, ODNR had no duty to keep the park safe for Plaintiff’s entry or use. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that because Plaintiff claimed he was injured by the negligence of a park employee and not by a defect in the premises, the recreational user statute did not apply. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the evidence in this case showed that Plaintiff’s injuries resulted from the alleged negligent operation of a boom mower, not from the condition of the premises; and (2) therefore, the recreational user statute does not preclude liability for Plaintiff’s negligence claim if Plaintiff can establish that negligence. View "Combs v. Ohio Dep’t of Natural Res., Div. of Parks & Recreation" on Justia Law

Posted in: Injury Law

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Plaintiff, individually and on behalf of her daughter, filed a civil suit against Defendant for assault, false imprisonment, emotional distress, and loss of consortium. Plaintiff requested compensatory and punitive damages. After Defendant failed to respond to the complaint, the trial court entered a default judgment against her. Before the damages hearing, Defendant died. The administrator of Defendant’s estate was substituted as a party. After a hearing, the trial court awarded compensatory damages to Plaintiff’s two daughters and concluded that punitive damages could not be properly awarded against the estate of a deceased tortfeasor. The Court of Appeals reversed, concluding that Ohio law permits an award of punitive damages against a deceased tortfeasor. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a punitive damages award is available in the limited circumstances presented in this case. Remanded to the trial court for a hearing on punitive damages and attorney fees. View "Whetstone v. Binner" on Justia Law

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C.K. was found guilty of murder. The appellate court reversed the conviction as being against the manifest weight of the evidence. On remand, the State dismissed the indictment without prejudice. C.K. later brought this action seeking a declaration that he was a “wrongfully imprisoned individual” and that he cannot and will not be retried for murder. The trial court granted summary judgment for the State, concluding that the mere possibility of being reindicted and retried precluded C.K. from being found to have been wrongfully imprisoned. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that genuine issues of material fact existed regarding whether C.K. was a wrongfully imprisoned individual because the State had not shown that a future criminal proceeding would be factually supportable and legally permissible following the reversal of C.K.’s murder conviction. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the State’s decision to defer prosecution pending the discovery of stronger evidence of guilt was insufficient to establish that no criminal proceeding can be brought or will be brought against C.K. for any act associated with the murder at issue in this case. Accordingly, there were no genuine issues of material fact, and the State was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. View "C.K. v. State" on Justia Law

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David Bundy served prison time before his conviction for failure to register as a sex offender was reversed. Bundy sought a declaratory judgment pursuant to Ohio Rev. Code 2743.48 that he had been wrongfully imprisoned for his failure to comply with the requirements of Ohio’s Adam Walsh Act (AWA) and that he was eligible to proceed for monetary relief against the State. The trial court found Bundy’s argument to be meritorious on the authority of three recent decisions from the Eighth District Court of Appeals, determining that the invalidation of certain provisions of the AWA on constitutional grounds required the conclusion that no violation had been committed and that Bundy, therefore, had the right to seek compensation under section 2743.48. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) a claimant seeking a declaration that he is a wrongfully imprisoned individual does not satisfy the actual-innocence standard of section 2743.48(A)(5) by showing that his conviction was reversed solely because the statute describing the offense could not be enforced on constitutional grounds; and (2) therefore, Bundy was not entitled to seek compensation from the state. View "Bundy v. State" on Justia Law

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Appellant alleged that between 2000 and 2001 two employees of the Department of Youth Services (DYS) sexually abused her while she was in custody of a juvenile correctional facility. In 2012, Appellant filed a complaint against DYS. DYS moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim, asserting that Appellant’s complaint was barred by the two-year statute of limitations for civil actions against the state set forth in Ohio Rev. Code 2743.16(A). The court granted the motion and dismissed the action, concluding that Appellant’s claims were barred because she filed her complaint more than two years after reaching the age of majority. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the twelve-year statute of limitations set forth in Ohio Rev. Code 2305.111(C), which pertains to actions brought by victims of childhood sexual abuse, rather than the two-year statute of limitations set forth in Ohio Rev. Code 2743.16(A), which pertains to civil actions filed against the state, applied to Appellant’s claims. Remanded. View "Watkins v. Dep’t of Youth Servs." on Justia Law

Posted in: Injury Law