Justia Injury Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio
by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals denying the request brought by Manor Care, Inc., a self-insured employer, for a writ of mandamus ordering the Bureau of Workers' Compensation to reimburse it for lump-sum permanent-total-disability (PTD) compensation payments, holding that Manor Care did not establish a clear legal right to relief.Manor Care made lump-sum payments under protest to two injured workers in order to correct its long-term underpayment of their permanent-total-disability (PTD) compensation. Manor Care then requested reimbursement from the Disabled Workers' Relief Fund, contending that Manor Care's underpayment of PTD compensation should be offset by the Bureau's corresponding overpayment of relief-fund benefits to the same employees, for which Manor Care had reimbursed the Bureau as part of its annual assessments. The Bureau denied the request. Manor Care then filed this action alleging that the Bureau abused its discretion by requiring Manor Care to, in effect, double-pay the purported PTD underpayment to the employees and refusing to reimburse Manor Care for the PTD underpayment amount. The court of appeals denied the writ. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Manor Care identified no authority granting a clear legal right to the relief it sought. View "State ex rel. Manor Care, Inc. v. Bureau of Workers' Compensation" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the opinion of the court of appeals reversing the trial court's decision granting summary judgment in favor of a teacher and school officials on Plaintiffs' complaint alleging that Defendants were reckless in addressing the alleged bullying of a kindergartener by another student, holding that Defendants did not act in perverse disregard of a known risk.In granting summary judgment for Defendants, the trial court found that they were immune from liability because the family had failed to establish that a genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether Defendants disregarded a known risk or obvious risk of harm to the kindergartener. The court of appeals reversed, finding that a genuine issue of material fact existed with respect to whether Defendants had been reckless. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Defendants did not act in perverse disregard of a known risk, and therefore, Defendants' conduct was not reckless. View "A.J.R. v. Lute" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals denying a writ of mandamus ordering the Industrial Commission to vacate an award of medical-service reimbursement to Diana Garringer for a right reverse total-shoulder arthroplasty, holding that the Commission did not abuse its discretion.Garringer injured her right shoulder while working for Omni Manor. The next year, the Commission granted Garringer's request for medical-service reimbursement for a reverse total-shoulder arthroplasty. Omni Manor requested a writ of mandamus ordering the Commission to vacate its order granting the reimbursement request. The court of appeals denied the request. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Commission correctly applied the standard set forth in State ex rel. Miller v. Industrial Commission, 643 N.E.2d 113 (Ohio 1994); and (2) the Commission did not abuse its discretion in considering certain evidence. View "State ex rel. Omni Manor, Inc. v. Industrial Commission" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals dismissing Plaintiffs' appeal from the trial court's dismissal of Plaintiffs' complaint on the basis that a dismissal without prejudice based on forum non conveniens is not a final, appealable order, holding a trial court's order dismissing a case without prejudice based on the doctrine of forum non conveniens is not a final, appealable order pursuant to Ohio Rev. Code 2505.02.Plaintiffs were obligated under Kentucky law to pay workers' compensation benefits to a worker who was injured at Defendant's facility. They subsequently filed a lawsuit against against Defendant in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas in Ohio, seeking to recover the amount that they had been required to pay. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the complaint based on the doctrine of forum non conveniens, arguing that the action should be filed in the Circuit Court in Grant County, Kentucky. The trial court dismissed the case, without prejudice, based on forum non conveniens. The court of appeals dismissed Plaintiffs' appeal on the basis that a dismissal without prejudice based on forum non conveniens is not a final, appealable order. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the dismissal in this case was not a final, appealable order. View "Crown Services, Inc. v. Miami Valley Paper Tube Co." on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court held that when an at-will employee consents, without objection, to the collection of his or her urine sample under the "direct-observation method," the at-will employee has no cause of action for common-law invasion of privacy.Plaintiffs were former and current at-will employees of Defendant. Defendant had a workplace substance-abuse policy requiring employees to submit a urine sample for drug testing under the direct-observation method, under which a same-sex monitor was required to accompany the employee to the restroom to visually observe the employee produce the urine sample. While Plaintiffs did not know at the time they consented that their urine samples would be collected under the direct-observation method they proceeded with the drug test under the direct-observation method without objection. Plaintiffs filed a complaint alleging that Defendant violated their privacy by requiring them to submit their urine samples under the direct-observation method. The trial court granted judgment for Defendant, concluding that Plaintiffs had not stated a valid claim for invasion of privacy. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court correctly dismissed Plaintiffs' invasion-of-privacy claim for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. View "Lunsford v. Sterilite of Ohio, LLC" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals granting a limited writ of mandamus ordering the Industrial Commission of Ohio to vacate its decision denying the request of Paul Digiacinto for permanent total disability (PTD) compensation and to hold a new hearing on Digiacinto's PTD application, holding that the Tenth District erred in holding that the Commission's failure to mention an ALJ's earlier decision granting Digiacinto's request for social security disability benefits in its order was an abuse of discretion.In 2001, Digiacinto suffered a workplace injury. In 2003, an ALJ granted Digiacinto's request for social security disability benefits. In 2015, Digiacinto filed a third application for PTD compensation. The Commission denied the application, concluding that Digiacinto had voluntarily abandoned the workforce, rendering him ineligible for compensation. Digiacinto then brought this mandamus action seeking an order for the Commission to vacate its order denying his PTD application. The court of appeals granted a limited writ, holding that the Commission's failure to mention the ALJ's decision in its order was an abuse of discretion. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the Commission was not required to discuss the ALJ's decision; and (2) the ALJ's decision was not key to the success or failure of the PTD application. View "State ex rel. Digiacinto v. Industrial Commission" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the trial court dismissing Plaintiff's wrongful-termination-in-violation-of-public-policy claim, holding that Plaintiff's dismissal did not jeopardize the public policy identified by the trial court and that Plaintiff did not satisfy the jeopardy element of her wrongful-termination-in-violation-of-public-policy claim.Plaintiff alleged that her employer wrongfully terminated her employment because she had challenged the employer for failing accurately to report her earnings to the Bureau of Unemployment Compensation. The trial court dismissed the complaint, concluding that dismissing employees under such circumstances would not jeopardize the stated public policy manifested in the provisions of Ohio Rev. Code Chapter 4141 and that section 4141.27 sets forth an adequate remedy for violating the public policy embodied in the statute. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the trial court erred by determining that Plaintiff could not satisfy the jeopardy element and that the statutory remedies contained in Chapter 4141 was insufficient to protect Plaintiff's interests. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the remedies in Chapter 4141 are sufficient to protect society's interest in the public policy that employers accurately report employees' pay and tips and the lack of a personal remedy for the dismissed employee does not jeopardize the stated public policy. View "House v. Iacovelli" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals in this action determining whether an insurer who settles a personal injury claim with an accident victim has a duty to distribute a portion of the settlement proceeds to the victim's former lawyers pursuant to a charging lien, holding that an action based upon a charging lien is an in rem proceeding against a particular fund and that when a matter is resolved through a settlement, the fund comes into being at the time the settlement is paid and the release is received.A discharged law firm sought to enforce a charging lien against a tortfeasor's insurer for the law firm's representation of the victim injured by the tortfeasor. However, no lawsuit was filed on behalf of the victim against the tortfeasor, and the victim settled with the tortfeasor's insurer after he discharged the law firm. The Supreme Court held that, under the facts of this case, the discharged law firm could not enforce its charging lien against the tortfeasor's insurer, and therefore, the discharged law firm did not have a viable charging-lien claim against the tortfeasor's insurer. View "Kisling, Nestico & Redick, LLC v. Progressive Max Insurance Co." on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the trial court granting summary judgment in favor of WBNS-TV, Inc. and dismissing Plaintiffs' defamation claim, holding that the court of appeals applied an incorrect standard in determining whether the fault element of the defamation claim had been met.The Columbus Police Department sent an information sheet to WBNS describing the robbery of a hoverboard from an eight-year-old. A photograph accompanying the information sheet depicted three siblings as potential suspects. The police department later released a statement that the people in the photograph had not been involved in the robbery. The siblings and their mother filed a complaint against WBNS alleging defamation. The trial court granted summary judgment for WBNS, concluding that Plaintiffs could not prove an essential element - fault - of their defamation claim. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals' judgment and remanded the cause to the court of appeals, holding (1) the standard set forth in Landsdowne v. Beacon Journal Publishing Co., 512 N.E.2d 979 (Ohio 1987), was the appropriate standard to apply in this case; and (2) the court of appeals erred by not applying this standard. View "Anderson v. WBNS-TV, Inc." on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals ruling that, pursuant to Ohio Rev. Code 2744.02(B)(1), a political subdivision may be liable for its negligent failure to train its police officers in high-speed pursuits, holding that the statute does not allow a political subdivision to be held liable for consequences arising from an employee's training or the supervision of that employee in operating a motor vehicle.A police officer was involved in a motor vehicle accident with a vehicle driven by Renee McConnell while the officer was responding to an emergency call. McConnell and her family brought suit against the officer, as well as the Coitsville Township and its board of trustees and the Coitsville Township Police Department (collectively, the Township), alleging that the Township negligently hired, trained, or supervised the officer. The trial court denied Defendants' motion for summary judgment asserting immunity. The court of appeals affirmed in part. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the township was entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiffs' claim that the township was negligent, willful, and/or wanton in its hiring, policies, and/or training of the officer. View "McConnell v. Dudley" on Justia Law