Medina County Courthouse

Monday, April 25, 2011

Contractor Liability for Negligent Construction

I recently entered a summary judgment in favor of a contractor who had followed the directions of the Medina County Agricultural Society in constructing a obstacle course for an event at the Medina County Fair. The issue in the motion for summary judgment was whether this Court had to follow a decision by the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Appellate District that was entered in January of 2002 or whether, since the decision was issued before May of 2002, it is persuasive authority but not binding authority.

The decision involved is Staley v. Bogner Construction Company, 2002 Ohio 317, (Wayne Cty. Ct. of Appeals). That decision held that when a contractor or a subcontractor follows the plans of the owner in doing work on the owner's premises there is no duty owed to any person who uses the premises. The duty, if any exists, is owed by the owner of the premises, not the contractor.

Since the plaintiff could not cite to any decisions from the Court of Appeals for the Ninth District that were contrary to this holding, I found that the opinion of the Wayne County Court of Appeals was persuasive. Therefore, I followed the reasoning of the appellate court and granted summary judgment.

You can read the opinion by clicking here. Please remember that this decision is subject to an appeal.

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