Political Subdivision Immunity Ohio
Political Subdivision Tort Liability:
According to the Ohio Supreme Court, R.C. Chapter 2744 sets forth a three-tiered analysis for determining whether a political subdivision is immune from liability Cater v. Cleveland, 83 Ohio St. 3d 24, 28, 697 N.E.2d 610, 614-615; Greene Cty. Agricultural Soc. v. Liming (2000), 89 Ohio St. 3d 551, 733 N.E.2d 1141.
First, R.C. 2744.02(A)(1) sets forth the general rule of immunity:
"For purposes of this chapter, the functions of political subdivisions are hereby classified as governmental and proprietary functions. Except as provided in division (B) of this section, a political subdivision is not liable in damages in a civil action for injury, death, or loss to persons or property allegedly caused by any act or omission of the political subdivision or an employee of the political subdivision in connection with a governmental or proprietary function".
The general rule of immunity is not absolute. It is subject to five express exceptions listed in R.C. 2744.02(B). Thus, once immunity is established under R.C. 2744.02(A)(1), the second tier of analysis is whether any of the five exceptions in subsection (B) apply.
Finally, under the third tier of analysis, immunity can be reinstated if the political subdivision can successfully argue that one of the defenses contained in R.C. 2744.03 applies, Cater v. Cleveland, 83 Ohio St. 3d at 28, 697 N.E.2d at 614-615; Greene Cty. Agricultural Soc. v. Liming, 89 Ohio St. 3d 551, 733 N.E.2d 1141.
According to the Ohio Supreme Court, "pursuant to this exception to immunity, a political subdivision is obligated to keep its public grounds free from nuisance.
The phrase 'public grounds' has been interpreted to include such areas as municipally owned and controlled parks that are established and maintained for the general public. Cleveland v. Ferrando (1926), 114 Ohio St. 207, 150 N.E. 747."Cater v. Cleveland, 83 Ohio St. 3d at 30, 697 N.E.2d at 616.