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Houdek v. ThyssenKrupp Materials N.A., Inc.

Supreme Court of Ohio

June 20, 2012, Submitted; December 6, 2012, Decided

No. 2011-1076

Opinion

 [***1254]  [*491]   O'Donnell, J.

 [**P1]  ThyssenKrupp Materials N.A., Inc., appeals from a judgment of the Eighth District Court of Appeals that reversed a grant of summary judgment  [****2] in its favor on claims that one of its supervisors had directed Bruce R. Houdek to work in an aisle of a warehouse where he sustained injuries when a co-worker operating a sideloader struck him. We are asked to consider the impact of a recently enacted statute on our prior case decisions which held employers liable for intentional torts occurring in the workplace when injuries were substantially certain to occur.

 [**P2] ] R.C. 2745.01(A), effective April 7, 2005, specifies that an employer is not liable for an intentional tort unless the employee proves that "the employer committed the tortious act with the intent to injure another or with the belief that the injury was substantially certain to occur," defined in Subdivision (B) as acting "with deliberate intent to cause an employee to suffer an injury, a disease, a condition, or death."

 [**P3]  [*492]   The Eighth District Court of Appeals ignored this statutory definition of "substantially certain," concluding it resulted from a scrivener's error, and held that ThyssenKrupp could be held liable for Houdek's injuries if it "objectively believed the injury to Houdek was substantially certain to occur," notwithstanding the lack of proof of a deliberate intent  [****3] to injure. Houdek v. ThyssenKrupp Materials N.A., Inc., 8th Dist. No. 95399, 2011 Ohio 1694, ¶ 46.

 [**P4]  Based upon our review of this record, no evidence exists that ThyssenKrupp deliberately intended to injure Houdek by directing him to work in the warehouse aisle. Accordingly, the judgment of the court of appeals is reversed and the judgment of the trial court entered in favor of ThyssenKrupp is reinstated.

Facts and Procedural History

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134 Ohio St. 3d 491 *; 2012-Ohio-5685 **; 983 N.E.2d 1253 ***; 2012 Ohio LEXIS 3092 ****; 35 I.E.R. Cas. (BNA) 944; 2012 WL 6553603

HOUDEK, APPELLEE, v. THYSSENKRUPP MATERIALS N.A., INC., APPELLANT, ET AL.

Prior History:  [****1] APPEAL from the Court of Appeals for Cuyahoga County, No. 95399, 2011 Ohio 1694.

Houdek v. ThyssenKrupp Materials N.A., Inc., 2011 Ohio 1694, 2011 Ohio App. LEXIS 1473 (Ohio Ct. App., Cuyahoga County, Apr. 7, 2011)

Disposition: Judgment reversed.

CORE TERMS

intentional torts, aisle, intent to injure, injure, deliberate intent, sideloader, removal, deliberately, safety guard, employees, appeals, disease, deliberately intended, injured worker, cause injury, no evidence, circumstances, injuries, workers' compensation, safety equipment, tortious act, directing, warehouse, damages, cones, racks

Business & Corporate Compliance, Labor & Employment Law, Occupational Safety & Health, Civil Liability Under OSHA, Workers' Compensation & SSDI, Exclusivity, General Overview, Governments, Courts, Authority to Adjudicate, State & Territorial Governments, Legislatures