• Ohio Supreme Court Closes Door on Workplace Intentional Tort Cases
  • December 20, 2012 | Author: Harry Sigmier
  • Law Firm: Weston Hurd LLP - Cleveland Office
  • The Ohio Supreme Court has effectively ended 30 years of contentious workplace intentional tort litigation by its decision in Houdek v. ThyssenKrupp Materials N.A., Inc., 2010-Ohio-1694. Until 1982, Ohio employers could rely on constitutional and statutory immunity from civil tort liability, on claims by workers injured in the course of employment, by complying with the state's workers' compensation laws. Things changed when the Supreme Court handed down Blankenship v. Cincinnati Milacron Chems., Inc., 69 Ohio St.2d 608 (1982) holding that intentional torts did not arise out of the employment relationship and created a basis for civil liability. In later decisions, the Supreme Court ruled that when injury was "substantially certain" to occur an intent to injure was inferred. In the courtroom, this standard was so amorphous that it was difficult for juries to distinguish it from common negligence. It was very risky for employers to take cases to trial, especially in death and serious injury situations.