• Ohio Supreme Court Refuses to Expand Definition of Equipment Safety Guard
  • November 26, 2012 | Authors: Mark A. Shaw; James B. Yates
  • Law Firm: Eastman & Smith Ltd. - Toledo Office
  • Ohio employers just received some good news from the Ohio Supreme Court. On November 20, 2012, the Ohio Supreme Court reversed a lower court decision which expansively interpreted the definition of “equipment safety guard” under Ohio’s intentional tort statute. In Hewitt v. L.E. Myers Co., Slip Opinion No. 2012-Ohio-5317, the Ohio Supreme Court specifically limited the definition of “equipment safety guard” to “a device designed to shield the operator from exposure to or injury by a dangerous aspect of the equipment.” Further, the Court found that a “deliberate removal ... of an equipment safety guard” only occurs “when an employer makes a deliberate decision to lift, push aside, take off, or otherwise eliminate that guard.” The decision abruptly halts a re-emergence of intentional tort claims under the statutory provision which grants a “rebuttable presumption” to the plaintiff of the requisite employer “intent to injure another” where an employer deliberately removes an equipment safety guard.