Justia Ohio Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Transportation Law
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The Supreme Court held that Section 858.01 of the Codified Ordinances of the Village of Put-In-Bay does not impose an unconstitutional tax on motor vehicles.The Village filed separate criminal complaints against Defendants, who operated businesses that made motorized golf cars available for rent within the Village, for failing to pay the annual license fee on their golf carts. The trial court dismissed the criminal complaints on the basis that section 858.01 is for a similar purpose as the annual state license tax levied on the operation of motor vehicles under Ohio Rev. Code 4503.02 and the local government tax permitted by Ohio Rev. Code 4504.02 and 4504.06. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that section 858.01 was not preempted by state law and did not violate Ohio Const. art. XII, 5a. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the tax is a constitutional exercise of the municipality's right to tax; and (2) section 858.01 does not impose an unconstitutional tax. View "Put-in-Bay v. Mathys" on Justia Law

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Amber Risner was killed in a collision with a tractor-trailer at the intersection of State Route 220 and State Route 332. Appellees, Amber’s parents, filed a complaint as the administrators of Amber’s estate against the Ohio Department of Transportation (“ODOT”), alleging negligent design and maintenance of the intersection. The court of claims granted summary judgment in favor of ODOT, concluding that ODOT was performing maintenance, rather than highway improvement, when it installed flashing lights in the intersection, and therefore, ODOT did not have a duty to upgrade the intersection to current design standards. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) ODOT is immune from liability with respect to its decisions whether to improve an existing highway and what type of improvements it will make; (2) however, in executing its decisions to improve a highway, ODOT may be subject to liability if it fails to act in accordance with current construction standards; and (3) applying the discretionary-function doctrine to the facts of this case, ODOT is immune from liability for damages resulting from its decisions at issue here. View "Risner v. Ohio Dep’t of Transp." on Justia Law

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Youngstown Belt Railway Company entered into a purchase agreement with Total Waste Logistics of Girard for the purchase of Mosier Yard, which the railway owned. The sale was never consummated, and later the city of Girard commenced an appropriation action to appropriate a portion of Mosier Yard. The trial court held that the city's appropriation proceedings were preempted by the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act (ICCTA). On remand, the trial court held that it would be inappropriate to consider the railway's potential sale to Total Waste in the preemption analysis but determined that the railway's use of a portion of the appropriated land for storage caused the city's action to be preempted by the ICCTA. The appellate court affirmed, although on different grounds. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the city's proposed eminent-domain action against the undeveloped portion of the railway's property, which did not contain any tracks or rights-of-way and did not have any concrete projected use that would constitute rail transportation by a rail carrier, was not preempted under the ICCTA. View "Girard v. Youngstown Belt Ry. Co." on Justia Law