Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Tenth District Court of Appeals denying Byington Builders, Ltd.’s request for a writ of mandamus compelling the Industrial Commission to vacate its award to Thomas Trousdale of additional compensation for Byington’s violation of a specific safety requirement (VSSR), holding that although aspects of the Court of Appeals’ analysis were flawed, that court reached the correct result. Trousdale fell from a pitched roof of a two-story building while working for Byington. Trousdale’s workers’ compensation benefits claim was allowed for several injuries. Trousdale then filed an application for an additional award for a VSSR, claiming that Byington violated specific safety requirements. The Commission denied Trousdale’s VSSR application in part and granted it in part and awarded additional compensation in the amount of forty percent of Trousdale’s maximum weekly rate due to this VSSR. Byington then filed its mandamus complaint seeking a writ directing the Commission to vacate its prior decisions and to enter an order denying Trousdale’s request for a VSSR award. The Court of Appeals denied the writ. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Commission did not abuse its discretion in granting Trousdale a VSSR award, and the Court of Appeals did not err in denying Byington’s request for a writ of mandamus. View "State ex rel. Byington Builders, Ltd. v. Industrial Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court remanded this defamation case to the trial court for further proceedings, holding that the cap in Ohio Rev. Code 2315.18 that applies to tort actions seeking noneconomic loss as a result of an alleged injury or loss to a person or property also applies to defamation. Plaintiff filed this civil complaint against Defendant, alleging several claims. At trial, the only claim submitted to the jury was for defamation. The jury found in favor of Plaintiff and awarded her $800,000 in compensatory damages and $750,000 in punitive damages. Defendant appealed, arguing that the amount awarded in damages was in excess of the applicable caps on damages set forth in section 2315.18(B)(2). The appellate court affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the cap on damages for noneconomic loss set forth in section 2315.18(B)(2) unambiguously caps the noneconomic damages that can be recovered as a result of defamation. View "Wayt v. DHSC, LLC" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was when Appellees’ claims for negligence, constructive fraud, and fraudulent concealment accrued and whether they were time-barred. Appellees were the Estate of Steven Schmitz and Yvette Smith, individually and as fiduciary of the Estate. Steven died before age sixty after being diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease, and dementia. Appellees alleged that Steven’s diagnoses were caused, aggravated, and/or magnified by repetitive head impacts Steven sustained while playing football for the University of Notre Dame du Lac. The trial court dismissed the claims pursuant to Ohio R. Civ. P. 12(B)(6). The Supreme Court affirmed the Eighth District’s judgment reversing the dismissal of Appellees’ claims for negligence, constructive fraud, and fraudulent concealment, holding (1) Rule 12(B)(6) did not warrant the dismissal of Appellees’ claims because the amended complaint did not show conclusively that the claims were time-barred; and (2) Appellees’ fraud-related claims were subject to the same two-year statute of limitations contained in Ohio Rev. Coe 2305.10(A) as Appellees’ negligence claim. View "Schmitz v. National Collegiate Athletic Ass’n" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals denying a writ of mandamus to compel the Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund to award Appellant on-duty-percentage disability benefits for injuries he alleged were sustained during the course of his employment, holding that the Fund’s board of trustees did not abuse its discretion in denying benefits. Appellant filed a complaint for a writ of mandamus challenging the board’s decision not to award on-duty disability benefits for his injuries. The court of appeals adopted the decision of the magistrate recommending denying the writ. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because some evidence supported the board’s decision, the court of appeals did not err in denying the requested writ. View "State ex rel. Wegman v. Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the Industrial Commission and granted Jackson Tube Service Inc.’s request for a writ of mandamus compelling the commission to vacate its order that granted Chad Thompson’s application for an additional award due to the violation of a specific safety requirement (VSRR) and to issue an order denying the VSSR application, holding that there was no evidence to support the commission’s decision to grant the VSSR award. Thompson’s workers’ compensation claim was allowed for a femur fracture. Thompson also filed an application for a VSSR award. The commission granted the VSSR application and rejected Jackson Tube’s argument that it was impossible to comply with the specific safety requirement. On appeal, Jackson Tube argued that the court of appeals erred when it rejected Jackson Tube’s impossibility defense. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that the commission abused its discretion in granting the VSSR award because it relied on speculative testimony regarding the existence of alternative means of performance proved nonexistent and that the evidence demonstrated that Jackson Tube established the defense of impossibility. View "State ex rel. Jackson Tube Service, Inc. v. Industrial Commission" on Justia Law

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At issue was how to determine whether a plaintiff who alleges that he or she suffers from lung cancer as a result of asbestos exposure is a “smoker” who needs to satisfy the requirements listed in Ohio Rev. Code 2307.92(C)(1), including a medical diagnosis that exposure to asbestos was a substantial contributing factor to a plaintiff’s primary lung cancer. Plaintiff in this case did not attempt to make the prima facie showing required under section 2307.92(C)(1). Union Carbide argued that medical records showed that Plaintiff had a history of smoking and, therefore, Plaintiff should be required to prove that he is a nonsmoker by means of a written medical report. The court of appeals disagreed, concluding that whether someone is a smoker is a question of fact, rather than a medical determination. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that a defendant can require a plaintiff to make a prima facie case that satisfies the requirements listed in section 2307.92(C)(1) only by submitting a written report from a “competent medical authority” that specifies that the plaintiff has smoked the equivalent of “one-pack year” during the last fifteen years. View "Turner v. CertainTeed Corp." on Justia Law

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This suit fell within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Court of Claims, rather than the court of common pleas, because Plaintiff sought legal relief rather than equitable relief. This suit challenged the legality of fees that were incurred by some recipients of workers’ compensation benefits when accessing their benefits. In this appeal, however, the Supreme Court was required to determine only whether the suit was properly brought in the court of common pleas or whether it should have been brought in the Court of Claims, which has exclusive jurisdiction over many suits against state entities such as the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. The Supreme Court held that Plaintiff’s claim was equitable because it sought full payment of the benefit lawfully awarded to him by the Bureau, and therefore, the Court of Common Pleas had exclusive jurisdiction in the matter. View "Cirino v. Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals granting a writ of mandamus ordering the Industrial Commission to vacate its order allocating the cost of a permanent-total-disability award between two different employers and issue an amended order. Appellee filed an application for permanent-total-disability compensation based on three workers’ compensation claims for work-related injuries she received while working for two different employers. A staff hearing officer granted the application. Appellant, one of Appellee’s employers, filed this mandamus action challenging the Commission’s allocation of the cost of the award among the three claims. The court of appeals ordered the Commission to vacate the portion of the hearing officer’s order allocating the cost of the award. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Commission abused its discretion by failing to explain the basis for the specific allocations of the award among the three claims. View "State ex rel. Penske Truck Leasing Co. v. Industrial Commission" on Justia Law

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The unambiguous language of Ohio Rev. Code 2744.02(B)(3), which provides that a political subdivision may be held liable for the negligent failure to keep public roads in repair and the negligent failure to remove obstructions from them, required that the City of Campbell be granted judgment as a matter of law in this personal injury action seeking recovery based on the City’s alleged failure to remove foliage that was growing thirty-four feet in front of a stop sign. The trial court denied the City’s motion for summary judgment. The appellate court affirmed, concluding that there were genuine issues of material fact regarding whether section 2744.02(B)(3) applied as an exception to the City’s immunity from suit. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that because the stop sign at issue was in repair and not obstructed, this matter must be remanded to the trial court to dismiss Plaintiff’s claims against the City. View "Pelletier v. City of Campbell" on Justia Law

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The tort of intentional interference with or destruction of evidence does not include claims alleging interference with or concealment of evidence that disrupt a plaintiff’s underlying case. Appellee filed an action against a school district, its board of education, and five board members (collectively, school defendants) alleging wrongful termination and sex discrimination. Appellants were attorneys who represented the school defendants in the wrongful termination case. While the wrongful termination case was pending, Appellee filed the instant action against Appellants, alleging intentional spoliation of evidence. The trial court granted summary judgment for Appellants because Appellee was unable to establish that Appellants had physically destroyed evidence. The appellate division reversed, concluding that the intentional concealment, interference with, or misrepresentation of evidence was sufficient to establish a viable spoliation claim. The Supreme Court reversed and reinstated the judgment of the trial court, holding that allegations of intentional interference with or concealment of evidence are not actionable under the independent tort of intentional spoliation of evidence. View "Elliott-Thomas v. Smith" on Justia Law