JAMES WILLIAMS, et al. Appellants
PORTAGE COUNTRY CLUB COMPANY Appellee
FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF
SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. CV 2015-07-3508
C. MEEKER and BLAISE MEEKER, Attorneys at Law, for
T. MURPHY and COLLEEN A. MOUNTCASTLE, Attorneys at Law, for
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
S. CALLAHAN JUDGE.
James and Traci Williams appeal from the Summit County Common
Pleas Court's grant of summary judgment to the Portage
Country Club Company ("Portage Country Club"). This
The Williamses lived at 169 Hollywood Avenue in Akron, Ohio
from February 2006 until July 2013. On July 10, 2013, the
greater Akron area was hit by a severe storm that caused
flooding throughout the city. A portion of the
Williamses' basement wall collapsed forcing them to
vacate the home.
The backyard of 169 Hollywood abuts a golf course owned by
Portage Country Club. The golf course has been at that
location since 1906. Originally, it was a nine-hole course,
but it was redesigned and expanded to an eighteen-hole course
In 1956, Portage Country Club granted the City of Akron an
easement "to construct, maintain, repair, enlarge, and
reconstruct a sewer or sewers for drainage and sewerage
purposes." Around that time, residential developments
were built to the northeast and the west of the golf course.
The storm and sanitary sewers within the easement
"follow the natural drainage route" from the
Burning Tree development on the northeast to Hollywood Avenue
on the west.
The home at 169 Hollywood was built in 1957. It sits at a
lower elevation than the golf course. The low point of the
golf course, around the fifth tee and the fourth green, is
adjacent to the backyards along Hollywood Avenue. The golf
course, 169 Hollywood, and nearby homes "are located in
a localized low area that is surrounded on all sides by
higher elevations" making them "very susceptible to
The golf course contains multiple "risers" and
catch basins to handle storm water. One of the catch basins
is located in the vicinity of the fifth tee and approximately
ten feet from the backyard of 169 Hollywood. At some point,
the golf course's drainage system was tapped into the
City's storm sewer system.
In 2015, the Williamses sued Portage Country Club, bringing a
count for nuisance and a count for trespass. Portage Country
Club moved for summary judgment. The Williamses opposed the
motion and contended that Portage Country Club had
unreasonably interfered with the flow of surface water by (1)
tapping into the City's storm sewer without permission
and (2) failing to maintain the catch basin located behind
their property. After reviewing the evidentiary material
submitted by each side, the trial court granted summary
judgment to Portage Country Club.
The Williamses appeal, raising two assignments of error.
OF ERROR NO. 1
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GRANTING APPELLEE'S MOTION FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN FINDING NO GENUINE ISSUES OF FACT AND
ENTITLING APPELLEE [TO] SUMMARY JUDGMENT AS A MATTER OF LAW
UNDER THE REASONABLE-USE RULE.
In their first assignment of error, the Williamses argue that
Portage Country Club unreasonably diverted surface water from
its golf course and, thereby, caused flooding damage to their
This Court reviews an award of summary judgment de novo.
Grafton v. Ohio Edison Co., 77 Ohio St.3d
102, 105 (1996). Pursuant to Civ.R. 56(C), summary judgment
is proper if:
(1) No 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 ...