Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio

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Scott and Dawn Smith (together, Insureds) filed an insurance claim with Erie Insurance Company (Insurer) seeking uninsured-motorist coverage as a result of injuries suffered by Scott in a no-contact accident allegedly caused by an unidentified vehicle. Insurer denied the claim. The trial court granted summary judgment to Insurer, concluding that a provision in the policy requiring Insureds to provide “independent corroborative evidence” that the unknown driver caused the injury meant that Insureds had to submit evidence, independent of Scott’s own testimony, corroborating that the accident was caused by an unknown motorist, and this they failed to do. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the policy’s requirement of independent corroborative evidence could be met using evidence derived from the insured’s testimony. View "Smith v. Erie Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs sued World Harvest Church (WHC) for claims arising from an incident involving Plaintiffs’ two-year-old son, who attended WHC’s daycare. Plaintiffs alleged that WHC’s employee had beaten their son with a knife. Final judgment was entered in favor of Plaintiffs in the amount of $2.87 million. The court of appeals affirmed. WHC subsequently filed suit against Grange Mutual Casualty Company, which insured WHC under a commercial liability insurance policy and an umbrella policy and had defended the matter but reserved its right to deny coverage. Plaintiffs alleged that Grange improperly refused to indemnify it for any portion of the judgment awarded to Plaintiffs. The trial court entered judgment in favor of WHC, finding that Grange was obligated to indemnify WHC in the amount of $1.47 million but that Grange was not responsible to indemnify WHC for the punitive damages awarded to Plaintiffs. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the abuse or molestation exclusion in the commercial liability insurance policy barred coverage for an award of damages based on WHC’s vicarious liability for intentional infliction of emotional distress arising from WHC’s employee’s abuse of Plaintiff’s son while in WHC’s care and custody; and (2) the policy did not provide coverage for an award of attorney fees and postjudgment interest. View "World Harvest Church v. Grange Mut. Cas. Ins. Co." on Justia Law

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Appellees damaged their vehicle when they collided with a deer in the roadway. Appellant insured the vehicle. Appellees had their vehicle repaired using aftermarket replacement parts that were not produced by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). Appellant, however, refused to pay for OEM parts after providing an estimate that was based on the use of non-OEM parts. Appellees filed a complaint alleging eight causes of action related to Appellant’s estimate and its refusal to pay for OEM parts. The trial court granted summary judgment to Appellees on their claim that Appellant violated the Consumer Sales Practices Act by failing to obtain one of Appellees’ signatures on the bottom of the estimate, and Appellees voluntarily dismissed the remainder of their claims. The trial court awarded Appellees actual damages, statutory treble damages, attorney fees, and expenses. The court of appeals modified and affirmed the trial court’s award of damages. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the court of appeals and dismissed the cause, holding that Appellant’s provision of a repair estimate to Appellees was not in connection with a consumer transaction and, therefore, was not an “unfair or deceptive act or practice” pursuant to Ohio Rev. Code 1345.02. View "Dillon v. Farmers Ins. of Columbus, Inc." on Justia Law