Judgment Affirmed: Sutter O’Connell Wins Appeal in Catastrophic Workplace Injury Case

Posted on August 21st, 2017 by sutteroconnell

Sutter O’Connell is continuing to shape Ohio law in favor of its clients. This trend continued last week when the Seventh District (Ohio) Court of Appeals affirmed Sutter O’Connell’s victory in a catastrophic injury case venued in Columbiana County, Ohio.

The case arose from a serious workplace injury suffered by a worker at a lime plant.   When the accident occurred, the plaintiff was standing underneath a giant hopper that was clogged with a scalding hot mixture of quicklime and water.   While the plaintiff was blasting water at the clog, the hot slurry exited the bottom of the hopper and consumed the plaintiff. Sutter O’Connell represented the company that owned the quicklime plant.

At trial, Sutter O’Connell convinced the judge to dismiss the case as a matter of law.   The winning argument was a lack of legal duty. First, the injury-causing condition (a hopper filled with scalding hot quicklime) was open and obvious. Second, the plaintiff was an employee of an independent contractor that Sutter O’Connell’s client had hired to perform inherently dangerous work (handling quicklime). Third, the plaintiff created the injury-causing condition.

The Seventh District unanimously affirmed the trial court’s dismissal. Although the plaintiff launched a bevy of allegations against the plant owner—and even hired an expert witness—the plaintiff could not establish that the plant owner owed him a legal duty.

Click here for the full decision.

Adam Martin and Daniel Leister handled the underlying case; Leister authored the winning appellate brief and handled oral argument.