Articles Posted in Transportation 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