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R.C. 2745.01(B) is not the result of a scrivener's error. The General Assembly intended to limit claims for employer intentional torts to situations in which an employer acts with the "specific intent" to cause an injury to another. An employer's knowingly permitting a hazardous work condition to exist and knowingly ordering employees to perform an extremely dangerous job falls short of the kind of actual intention to injure that robs the injury of accidental character.
The employee, Bruce R. Houdek, was assigned to relabel inventory on warehouse storage racks, which required him to work in the same aisles as workers using side loaders. A coworker forgot the employee's prior alert of his presence in the aisle and drove a side loader down the aisle, which resulted in his injuries. The employee sued, asserting the employer ThyssenKrupp Materials N.A., Inc. had deliberately intended to injure him by directing him to work in the aisle with knowledge that injury would be certain or substantially certain to occur. The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of the employer. The appellate court reversed, stating that the terms used in R.C. 2745.01(A) were in "harmonic dissonance" with the definition of "substantially certain" in R.C. 2745.01(B) and that the court preferred to believe "paragraph (B) was a scrivener's error." As a result, the appellate court held that an injured employee may prove an employer intentional tort by showing that the employer acted with an intent to injure the employee or with the belief that the injury was substantially certain to occur. The employer appealed.
Under the R.C. 2745.01(A), may an employee prove an employer intentional tort by showing that the employer acted with an intent to injure the employee or with the belief that the injury was substantially certain to occur?
On appeal, the Ohio Supreme Court held that the appellate court ignored the statutory definition of "substantially certain" in R.C. 2745.01 and erroneously held that it resulted from a scrivener's error. The Court held that R.C. 2745.01 limited claims against employers for intentional torts to circumstances demonstrating a deliberate intent to cause injury to an employee. Absent a deliberate intent to injure, an injured employee's exclusive remedy was under the workers' compensation system. Because there was no evidence that the employer deliberately intended to injure the employee by directing him to work in the warehouse aisle, the court reinstated the trial court's judgment.