The Ohio Supreme Court recently agreed to hear a Sagamore Hills woman’s argument that she should be able to sue Summit County for failing to maintain a culvert under her street, a failure that caused more than $70,000 in damage to her home when storm water and sewage backed up and flooded her basement in 2017.
The county had argued in a summary judgment motion in Summit County Common Pleas Court that R.C. 2744.02(B)(3), an exception to political subdivision immunity that relates to negligent upkeep of public roadways, only allows it to be sued by a motorist or someone traveling on the roadway. The case went up and down to the Ninth District Court of Appeals twice (once on the county’s appeal, and again on the property owner’s appeal after remand), and the appellate court decided in Schlegel v. Summit County, 9th Dist. Summit No. 30377, 2023-Ohio-2866, that the exception didn’t apply to allow Ms. Schlegel’s case to go forward.
Now that the Supreme Court has accepted jurisdiction to hear arguments that the immunity exception’s plain language doesn’t limit it just to motorists and other travelers, full briefing will begin soon in Case No. 2023-1232.