Foreseeability of Injury In Ohio
Absent a legal duty, there can be no liability for a negligent act. Menifee v. Ohio Welding Products, Inc. (1984), 15 Ohio St. 3d 75, 77, 15 Ohio B. Rep. 179, 180, 472 N.E.2d 707, 710; Estates of Morgan v. Fairfield Family Counseling Ctr. (1997), 77 Ohio St. 3d 284, 293, 673 N.E.2d 1311, 1319.
"In Ohio, 'the existence of a duty depends upon the foreseeability of the injury.
The test for foreseeability is whether a reasonably prudent person would have anticipated that an injury was likely to result from the performance or nonperformance of an act.'" Morgan, supra, citing Menifee, 15 Ohio St. 3d at 77, 15 Ohio B. Rep. at 180, 472 N.E.2d at 710.
However, the foreseeability of an injury, in and of itself, is not necessarily sufficient to give rise to a duty. Id. Finally, the determination of whether a legal duty exists is a matter of law for the court to decide.
In Ohio, a duty to warn or a duty to protect third parties does exist if a special relationship has been established. In Morgan, the Ohio Supreme Court specifically discussed special relationships and the duty to control. Therein, the court held:
"Generally, a defendant has no duty to control the violent conduct of a third person as to prevent that person from causing physical harm to another unless a 'special relation' exists between the defendant and the third person or between the defendant and the other.
In order for a special relation to exist between the defendant and the third person, the defendant must have the ability to control the third person's conduct." Id., at paragraph one of the syllabus.