SHARON W. SEATON, Administrator Appellee
CITY OF WILLOUGHBY, et al. Appellant
FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF
SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. CV-2014-01-0168
A. CLIMER, JOHN T. MCLANDRICH, FRANK H. SCIALDONE, and JOHN
D. PINZONE, Attorneys at Law, for Appellant.
CHRISTIAN PATNO and COLIN R. RAY, Attorneys at Law, for
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
J. CARR, JUDGE.
Appellant, the City of Willoughby, appeals the judgment of
the Summit County Court of Common Pleas. This Court affirms.
This matter arises out of the tragic death of Shawn Wilson on
June 11, 2012. Wilson was dispatched to work on a paving
project through the course of his employment with the
Willoughby Street Department. The crew began patching
potholes at the bottom of a hill on Strawberry Lane, a
residential street in Willoughby. On that particular day,
Wilson was operating an asphalt roller known as the Maudlin
Brothers Model 1450. When the crew reached the top of the
hill, the group of vehicles working on the project
inadvertently blockaded the driveway of a resident attempting
to access the street. Wilson moved the asphalt roller forward
to allow the resident to exit his driveway. Unexpectedly, the
roller began to roll down an incline at a high rate of speed.
Wilson could not stop the roller as it careened out of
control. When he attempted to jump off the machine to safety,
he struck his head on the pavement. He subsequently died from
On January 14, 2014, Sharon W. Seaton, as the Administrator
of the Estate of Shawn Wilson, filed a complaint against
numerous defendants, including the City of Willoughby
("the City"). The complaint contained claims for
survivorship and wrongful death. With leave of court, Seaton
filed an amended complaint in April 2015. The City filed an
answer generally denying the allegations in the complaint and
setting forth numerous defenses, including that the City was
immune from liability under R.C. 4123.74. While the
Seaton's claims against the City endured, the claims
against the other defendants were eventually dismissed from
On January 7, 2016, the City filed a motion for summary
judgment arguing that it was entitled to workers compensation
immunity under R.C. 4123.74 as to the survivorship and
wrongful death claims. The City further maintained that the
employer intentional tort exception to immunity was not
applicable under the facts of this case. Seaton filed a
memorandum in opposition to the motion and the City replied
thereto. Seaton was permitted to file a sur-reply brief. The
trial court ultimately denied the motion for summary
judgment, concluding that there was a question of fact as to
whether the City deliberately removed a safety guard from the
On appeal, the City raises one assignment of error.
LOWER COURT ERRED WHEN IT DENIED THE APPELLANT/CITY OF
WILLOUGHBY THE BENEFIT OF IMMUNITY UNDER R.C. CHAPTER 4123.
In its sole assignment of error, the City contends that the
trial court erred when it denied the motion for ...