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Aho v. RTI International Metals, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Trumbull

May 15, 2017

WALTER AHO, Appellant,
v.
RTI INTERNATIONAL METALS, INC., et al., Appellee.

         Civil appeals from the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas. Case Nos. 2015 CV 01488 and 2016 CV 00131.

          Irene K. Makridis, (For Appellant).

          C. Scott Lanz and Adam V. Buente, Manchester Newman & Bennett, (For Appellee).

          OPINION

          TIMOTHY P. CANNON, J.

         {¶1} Appellant, Walter D. Aho, appeals the judgment of the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas, which granted summary judgment in favor of appellee, RTI International Metals, Inc. ("RTI"). For the following reasons, the trial court's judgment is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings.

         {¶2} Mr. Aho suffered a knee injury while climbing the stairs at work on the premises of his employer, RTI. The Industrial Commission allowed Mr. Aho to participate in the worker's compensation fund, first on a claim for a "strain/sprain right knee" and subsequently on a claim for a "medial meniscus tear of the right knee, " for which Mr. Aho underwent surgery and physical therapy. RTI appealed the allowance of both claims to the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas, and the cases were consolidated.

         {¶3} RTI took Mr. Aho's deposition. RTI moved for summary judgment, arguing there was no causal connection between Mr. Aho's injury and his employment. Mr. Aho took the deposition of his surgeon, Dr. Thomas Jones, but it was not filed until after Mr. Aho responded to the motion for summary judgment and after the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of RTI. The trial court found Mr. Aho's injury did not arise out of his employment with RTI and reversed the Industrial Commission's decisions.

         {¶4} Mr. Aho filed a timely notice of appeal and assigns one error for our review:

         {¶5} "The trial court committed error in granting appellee's motion for summary judgment based upon the conclusion that appellant was not injured in the course of and out [of] his employment with appellee."

         {¶6} Mr. Aho argues the trial court erred in determining on summary judgment that he did not suffer a compensable workplace injury as defined by R.C. 4123.01.

         Summary Judgment Standard

         {¶7} "While summary judgment is a beneficial procedure aiding in the swift administration of justice, it must also 'be used cautiously and with the utmost care so that litigant's right to a trial * * * is not usurped in the presence of conflicting facts and inferences.'" Fifth Third Mtge Co. v. Perry, 4th Dist. Pickaway No. 12CA13, 2013-Ohio- 3308, ¶35, quoting Viock v. Stowe-Woodward Co., 13 Ohio App.3d 7, 14-15 (6th Dist.1983). "[T]he trial court may not weigh the evidence or select among reasonable inferences. * * * Rather, all doubts and questions must be resolved in the non-moving party's favor." McCarthy v. Lordstown, 11th Dist. Trumbull No. 2014-T-0050, 2015- Ohio-955, ¶7 (citations omitted).

         {¶8} Summary judgment is, therefore, only proper when

(1) [n]o genuine issue as to any material fact remains to be litigated; (2) the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law; and (3) it appears from the evidence that reasonable minds can come to but one conclusion, and viewing such evidence most strongly in favor of the party against whom the ...

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