JUSTIN R. THOMAS Appellee
LORAIN METROPOLITAN HOUSING AUTHORITY Defendant and CITY OF LORAIN Appellant
FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF
LORAIN, OHIO CASE No. 16CV188380
PATRICK D. RILEY and JOSEPH T. LAVECK, Attorneys at Law, for
MATTHEW DOOLEY and STEPHEN BOSAK, Attorneys at Law, for
TIMOTHY R. CLEARY, Attorney at Law, for Defendant.
M. HARRELL and WILLIAM J. PRICE, Attorneys at Law, for
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
J. CARR, JUDGE
Appellant, the City of Lorain, appeals the judgment of the
Lorain County Court of Common Pleas. This Court affirms.
On a snowy January evening in 2014, Justin Thomas was walking
to the store when his left leg fell into an open water meter
crock that was situated on a property owned by the Lorain
Metro. Hous. Auth. ("LMHA"). The water meter
crock's lid had become dislodged, resulting in an open
hole. Though the water meter crock was located
just off the sidewalk, a path had been cleared in such a way
that it guided pedestrians to the spot in the grassy area
where the water meter crock was located. At the time of the
incident, Thomas was walking to a convenience store with his
girlfriend, who was a resident on the property. Thomas
suffered significant injuries as a result of his fall.
Approximately a week after the incident, Thomas'
girlfriend found a lid partially buried in the snow.
On January 6, 2016, Thomas filed a complaint against LMHA,
the City of Lorain, and the Lorain Util. Dept, in addition to
several John Doe defendants. With leave of court, Thomas
subsequently filed an amended complaint wherein he alleged
that the defendants' "negligent, reckless, and/or
wanton conduct" led to the hazardous situation with the
water meter crock. Thomas further alleged that maintenance of
the area where the water meter crock was located, including
the plowing of the snow in that area, was performed in a
"negligent and/or reckless manner by Defendants[.]"
The City initially filed a cross claim against LMHA but the
cross claim was subsequently dismissed. Both LMHA and the
City filed answers to the amended complaint.
On May 11, 2017, the City filed a motion for summary judgment
and included numerous exhibits. The following day, LMHA also
filed a motion for summary judgment. Thomas filed an omnibus
brief wherein he responded in opposition to both motions for
summary judgment. Both the City and LMHA filed reply briefs
in support of their respective motions. On July 6, 2017, the
trial court issued separate orders denying the motions for
The City filed a timely notice of appeal. Now before this
Court, the City raises three assignments of error.