THERESE M. BARTCHAK, et al. Appellees
COLUMBIA TOWNSHIP AND LIVERPOOL TOWNSHIP Appellants
FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF
LORAIN, OHIO CASE No. 14-CV-183647
GREGORY A. BECK and MEL L. LUTE, JR., Attorneys at Law, for
ABRAHAM CANTOR, Attorney at Law, for Appellants.
KENNETH P. ABBARNO, and MICHAEL A. SALTZER, Attorneys at Law,
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
JENNIFER HENSAL, J.
Columbia Township and Liverpool Township appeal a judgment
entry of the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas that denied
their motions for summary judgment. For the following
reasons, this Court reverses.
Four teenagers died after using a railroad crossing to make
their car go airborne, veering off the road after landing,
and colliding with a tree. The parents of three of the
children sued Columbia Township and Liverpool Township for
wrongful death because the road the teens were driving on
bordered those townships. Following discovery, the Townships
moved for summary judgment, arguing that they are immune from
liability under Revised Code Section 2744.02. The trial court
granted their motions in part, but denied them as to the
parents' claims that the Townships failed to remove
obstructions from the road, failed to keep the road in
repair, and failed to have mandatory road markings. The
Townships have appealed, jointly assigning two errors.
ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR I
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED AS A MATTER OF LAW IN DETERMINING THERE
WERE GENUINE ISSUES OF MATERIAL FACT AS TO WHETHER THE DESIGN
OF THE BOSTON ROAD AT THE INTERSECTION OF THE RAILROAD TRACKS
CONSTITUTED AN OBSTRUCTION.
The Townships argue that the trial court should have granted
them summary judgment on all of the parents' claims
because they have political subdivision immunity. Under Civil
Rule 56(C), summary judgment is appropriate if:
(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 motion for summary judgment is made, that conclusion
is adverse to that party.
Temple v. Wean United, Inc.,
50 Ohio St.2d 317, 327
(1977). To succeed on a motion for summary judgment, the
movant bears the initial burden of demonstrating that there
are no genuine issues of material fact concerning an
essential element of the opponent's case.
Dresherv. Burt,75 Ohio St.3d 280, 292
(1996). If the movant satisfies this burden, the nonmoving
party "must set forth specific facts showing that there
is a genuine issue for trial." Id. at 293,
quoting Civ.R. 56(E). This Court ...