Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio

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Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle accident allegedly caused by a high-speed police chase. Appellant filed a negligence action against certain police officers, alleging that the officers engaged in a high-speed case of a suspect that ended when Barnhart’s vehicle struck Plaintiff’s vehicle, killing the suspect and seriously injuring Plaintiff. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the officers, concluding (1) as a matter of law, a police officer who pursues a suspect is not the proximate cause of injuries to a third party unless the officer’s conduct is extreme and outrageous; and (2) under this standard, no reasonable juror could conclude that the officers’ actions were the proximate cause of the accident. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, albeit on different grounds, holding (1) the no-proximate-cause standard applied by the court of appeals in this case is contrary to the express dictates of Ohio Rev. Code 2744.03(A)(6)(b), which provides that law enforcement officers are immune from liability unless they act maliciously, in bad faith, or in a wanton or reckless manner; and (2) applying the correct standard set forth in section 2744.03(A)(6)(b), the officers could not be held liable for damages as a result of their actions. View "Argabrite v. Neer" on Justia Law

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Jill Stevenson failed to stop at a stop sign at an intersection and collided with Gary Bibler. A police officer determined that the stop sign was significantly obstructed from a distance as a driver approached it. Bibler and his wife, Yvonne Bibler, filed a complaint alleging that Stevenson was negligent for failing to stop and that the City of Findlay was negligent for failing to ensure that the stop sign was visible. The trial court dismissed Findlay from the case, concluding that the City was entitled to statutory political subdivision immunity and that an exception to immunity did not apply in this case. The Biblers and Stevenson subsequently settled, and the Biblers appealed the grant of summary judgment in favor of Findlay. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the City was not immune pursuant to Ohio Rev. Code 2744.02(B)(3) and was potentially amenable to liability. Remanded. View "Bibler v. Stevenson" on Justia Law

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Ross Linert sustained severe injuries when Adrien Foutz, an intoxicated driver, struck Ross’s vehicle from behind, triggering a fuel-fed fire. At the time of the accident, Ross, a veteran police officer, was on patrol in a 2005 Crown Victoria Police Interceptor (CVPI) manufactured by Ford Motor Company. Ross and his wife, Brenda Linert, sued Foutz. The Linerts subsequently added product liability and malice claims against Ford. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Ford on all of the Linerts’ claims. The Linerts appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury on Ohio Rev. Code 2307.76(A)(2), Ohio’s statute governing manufacturers’ postmarked duty to warn consumers of risks associated with a product that are not discovered until after the product has been sold. The appellate court ordered a new trial on the Linerts’ postmarketing failure-to-warn claim, concluding that the there was sufficient evidence to warrant a jury instruction on the Linerts’ postmarketing failure-to-warn claim. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court properly refused to instruct on a postmarketing duty to warn in this case. View "Linert v. Foutz" on Justia Law

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Jessica Simpkins and her father, Gene Simpkins, (together, Appellants) sued Grace Brethren Church of Delaware, Ohio for negligent hiring, retention, and supervision of Brian Williams, a senior pastor at Sunbury Grace Brethren Church who forced oral and vaginal intercourse with Simpkins, then a fifteen-year-old parishioner. The jury found that Simpkins was entitled to $3,651,378 in compensatory damages, which included past and future economic damages and past and future noneconomic damages. The trial court applied the cap in Ohio Rev. Code 2315.18(B)(2) to reduce Simpkins’s noneconomic damages from $3.5 million to $350,000. The court of appeals rejected Appellants’ constitutional challenges to section 2315.18(B)(2) as well as their argument that Simpkins’s noneconomic damages arose out of two occurrences for purposes of applying the damage caps. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) section 2315.18(B) is constitutional as applied to the facts in this case; and (2) this case involved a single “occurrence” for purposes of applying the damage caps. View "Simpkins v. Grace Brethren Church of Delaware, Ohio" on Justia Law

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In 1998, Appellee was sentenced to thirteen years in prison on various drug and weapons charges. The district court granted Appellee’s writ of habeas corpus and ordered the state to release Appellee or grant him a new trial within a certain time. The state did not retry Appellee, and the charges against him were dismissed with prejudice. Thereafter, Appellee filed a complaint seeking a determination that he was a wrongfully imprisoned individual. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the state. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and remanded with instructions to apply Mansaray v. State. On remand, the court of appeals again reversed the grant of summary judgment to the state, ruling that Appellee had satisfied all five elements of Ohio Rev. Code 2743.48(A). The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Appellee failed to satisfy all five elements of section 2743.48(A). View "James v. State" on Justia Law

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Darlene Burnham brought a personal injury action against the Cleveland Clinic and Cleveland Clinic Health System (collectively, Clinic). During discovery, Burnham requested certain documents that the Clinic alleged were not discoverable because they were shielded by the attorney-client privilege. Burnham filed a motion to compel discovery. The trial court granted the motion to compel. The Clinic appealed, arguing that the documents were protected by the attorney-client privilege and were not discoverable. The court of appeals dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction, concluding that there was no final, appealable order to review because the Clinic had failed to establish that there would be prejudice resulting from disclosure of the documents. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) a discovery order compelling the production of documents allegedly protected by the attorney-client privilege is a final, appealable order subject to immediate review because such an order causes harm and prejudice that cannot be meaningfully remedied by a later appeal; and (2) because the Clinic has plausibly alleged that the attorney-client privilege would be breached by disclosure of the requested materials, the order compelling the disclosure is a final, appealable order. View "Burnham v. Cleveland Clinic" on Justia Law

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Respondents filed a lawsuit against Petitioners, asserting a claim for negligent misidentification. Petitioners filed motions for judgment on the pleadings or, alternatively, to certify questions of state law to the Supreme Court asserting that a claim of negligent misidentification sounds in defamation, and, under the one-year statute of limitations for defamation, Respondents’ claim was time-barred. The federal district court certified three questions of law to the Ohio Supreme Court. The Supreme Court held (1) a plaintiff does not have a cause of action in tort for negligent misidentification, and it would contravene public policy to allow such a claim; and (2) because no cause of action for negligent misidentification exists in Ohio, the certified questions are moot. View "Foley v. University of Dayton" on Justia 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

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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