Articles Posted in Ohio Supreme Court

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Plaintiffs brought a tort action against the City of Cleveland and some of its employees (collectively, Relators). Relators filed a motion to dismiss based on political-subdivision immunity. The trial court denied the motion. The court of appeals reversed, holding the trial court erred in not granting the motion. On remand, the trial court dismissed Plaintiffs’ claims without prejudice. Relators filed a complaint for a writ of mandamus. The court of appeals denied the writ, concluding that it had not mandated a dismissal with prejudice and that Relators possessed adequate remedies in the ordinary course of law. The Supreme Court (1) reversed in part because the court of appeals found the City and its employees in their official capacities were immune, and therefore, the court of appeals should have issued a writ ordering the trial court to dismiss those counts with prejudice; and (2) affirmed as to the claims that were originally dismissed on grounds of failing to state a claim with regard to immunity of the employees in their individual capacities. View "State ex rel. Cleveland v. Astrab" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff was visiting a friend, who was a tenant at an apartment building owned by Defendant, when Plaintiff suffered an injury while descending the common area stairs. Plaintiff sued Defendant, alleging that Defendant had negligently failed to maintain adequate lighting on the premises. The trial court granted summary judgment to Defendant, holding (1) since Plaintiff was not a tenant but a business invitee, Defendant only owed her a duty of ordinary care; and (2) the open-and-obvious doctrine applied in this case to negate the duty of ordinary care. The court of appeals reversed, holding that tenants’ guests are entitled to the protections of Ohio Rev. Code 5321.04, that a landlord’s violation of section 5321.04 constitutes negligence per se, and that the open-and-obvious-danger doctrine does not apply when the landlord is negligent per se. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) a landlord owes the statutory duty under section 5321.04 to keep all common areas of the premises in a safe condition to a tenant’s guest properly on the premises; and (2) a breach of that duty constitutes negligence per se and obviates the open-and-obvious-danger doctrine. View "Mann v. Northgate Investors, LLC" on Justia Law

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After a car accident involving David Fraley and Timothy Oeding, Oeding’s insurer (“Auto-Owners”) placed an investigative hold on Fraley’s truck for several months. Fraley filed a negligence action against Oeding’s estate, Oeding’s employer (“J&R”), and Auto-Owners, alleging, among other things, that Auto-Owners’ investigatory hold caused Fraley intangible economic loss due to the loss of use of the truck. The trial court dismissed the complaint, holding (1) the court could not exercise personal jurisdiction over Oeding and J&R solely because their insurer did business in Ohio, and (2) Fraley was not entitled to maintain a direct action against Auto-Owners because he had not obtained a judgment against Auto-Owners’ insureds. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the trial court erred in its determination that it lacked personal jurisdiction over Oeding and J&R because Auto-Owners’ investigatory hold and its communication with Fraley brought Auto-Owners, and by extension J&R and Oeding, within Ohio’s long-arm statute. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that an Ohio court may not impute an insurance company’s conduct to its nonresident insured for purposes of establishing personal jurisdiction over the insured. View "Fraley v. Estate of Oeding" on Justia Law

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Appellee, the administrator of the estate of Karen Parrish, filed wrongful-death and survival action arising from the allegedly negligent care and death of Parrish. The case proceeded to a jury. At the close of Appellee's opening statements, Appellants moved for directed verdict, asserting that Appellee had failed to meet the burden of establishing a case of medical malpractice against them because Appellee had failed to set forth in his opening statement a standard of care and causation. The trial court granted the motion for directed verdict and entered judgment in favor of Appellants. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the trial court was required to consider both the opening statement and the complaint before determining whether a directed verdict was appropriate. The Supreme Court affirmed but on different grounds, holding that a trial court is not required to consider allegations contained in the pleadings when ruling on a motion for directed verdict made on the opening statement of an opponent, but the trial court may consult the pleadings in liberally construing the opening statement in favor of the party against whom the motion is made. Remanded. View "Parrish v. Jones" on Justia Law

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In an earlier litigation, Kleem retained Julian Vanni and Vanni & Associates (collectively, Vanni) to appraise certain real property in dispute between the parties. The trial court entered judgment in favor of Kleem and against Southwest Sports Center. Southwest subsequently filed suit against Kleem and Vanni. The case was assigned to Judge Richard McMonagle. Vanni sought a writ of prohibition to prevent Judge McMonagle from hearing the litigation, arguing that the judge lacked jurisdiction based on the jurisdictional-priority rule, claim preclusion, and witness immunity. The court of appeals dismissed the case, concluding that Judge McMonagle did not patently and unambiguously lack jurisdiction and that Vanni had an adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Judge McMonagle did not patently lack jurisdiction and that Vanni had an adequate remedy by way of appeal. View "State ex rel. Vanni v. McMonagle" on Justia Law

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As a result of a surgery to remove a cyst at the lowest part of his spinal cord, Plaintiff permanently lost bladder, bowel, and sexual function. Plaintiff and his wife filed this action against Defendant, a neurosurgeon who diagnosed the cyst but who did not participate in the surgery. After a jury trial, the trial court entered judgment against Defendant. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the trial court erred by admitting, over objection, as an exhibit an illustration from a learned treatise; (2) the trial court erred in refusing to submit to the jury a properly drafted interrogatory offered by Defendant; (3) the trial court erred by prohibiting Defendant from presenting evidence of "write-offs" to contest Plaintiffs' medical bills without a foundation of expert testimony on the reasonable value of the medical services rendered; and (4) the court's errors, taken together, deprived Defendant of a fair trial. Remanded for a new trial. View "Moretz v. Muakkassa" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was Ohio Rev. Code 9.86, which provides immunity to state employees unless the employee acts manifestly outside the scope of employment, with malicious purpose, or in bad faith. Michael McNew visited the Ohio State University Medical Center (Center) complaining of a painful hemorrhoid, nausea, diarrhea, and fatigue. McNew consulted with Dr. Syed Husain, a faculty member who was also employed by the school's nonprofit medical-practice corporation, but neither a medical student nor a resident was present during the treatment. Four days after McNew was discharged, he died from an undiagnosed cerebral hemorrhage caused by thromboytopenia. Plaintiffs brought this action against the Center in the court of claims. Plaintiffs also filed a civil action against Husain in the common pleas court, which the court stayed pending a determination by the court of claims regarding Husain's immunity from suit. The court of claims concluded that Husain was immune from suit under section 9.86. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, in treating McNew, Husain served the interests of the Center and acted within the scope of employment. Therefore, Husain was entitled to personal immunity pursuant to section 9.86. View "Ries v. Ohio State Univ. Med. Ctr." on Justia Law

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After sustaining injuries while sledding in the City of Circleville's park, Jeremy Pauley and his mother filed a civil action against the City, alleging that the City acted negligently, recklessly, and wantonly in dumping debris in the park, which resulted in a physical defect that caused Jeremy's injuries. The trial court granted the City's motion for summary judgment, concluding that the City was immune from suit under Ohio Rev. Code 1533.181, the recreational user immunity statute. Plaintiffs appealed, contending that section 1533.181 does not apply when a property owner makes the property more dangerous "without promoting or preserving recreational activities." The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because Jeremy was a recreational user as defined in the statute, the City was not liable for his injuries. View "Pauley v. Circleville" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs in this case were 100 current or former residents or owners of homes on State Road in Parma who sought damages caused by the continual flow of gasoline from a gas station's infrastructure into a sanitary sewer main located on State Road. Plaintiffs named as defendants various private and public entities, including Cuyahoga County. The County filed a motion seeking judgment on the pleadings on the theory that Plaintiffs' causes of action had not been filed within the two-year statute of limitations applicable to political subdivisions pursuant to Ohio Rev. Code 2744.04. The trial court denied the motion. The County appealed. The court of appeals concluded that the trial court's denial of the County's motion was not a final, appealable order over which the appellate court had jurisdiction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the denial of a public subdivision's dispositive motion asserting a statute-of-limitations defense pursuant to section 2744.04 is not a final, appealable order. View "Riscatti v. Prime Props. Ltd. P'ship" on Justia Law

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Danielle Laurence sued Stephen Stillwagon and Ace Doran seeking damages for personal injuries she suffered in an automobile accident. In discovery, Laurence produced her medical records. Laurence subsequently dismissed her case. Meanwhile, Todd Leopold and his wife sued Stillwagon, Ace Doran, and Laurence, seeking recovery for injuries sustained in the same accident and asserting that Laurence's negligence caused the accident. Laurence moved for a protective order seeking to preclude counsel from using the medical records she produced in her lawsuit. The trial court denied the motion, and the appellate court affirmed, determining that Laurence waived her physician-patient privilege with respect to the accident by filing a claim of personal injury against Defendants. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that pursuant to the statute establishing the physician-patient privilege, at least two separate provisions applied and specified that the statements made by Laurence to her physician were no longer privileged. View "Leopold v. Ace Doran Hauling & Rigging Co." on Justia Law