Brian Miller Columbus Ohio Personal Injury Attorney    

Case Law Summary - 2014: April - June


Slip and Fall

Novak v. Giganti, 2014 – Ohio-2751 (9th Dist.)

The plaintiff, Mr. Novak, was helping deliver stones for his neighbor, Mr. Giganti, when he slipped on mud adjacent to Mr. Giganti’s flowerbeds. As a result, Mr. Novak sustained serious injuries when he fell into a ditch. The trial court held that the mud was an open and obvious hazard (that Mr. Novak should have seen it), and barred Mr. Novak from recovery.

On appeal, the 9th district court reversed the trial court. The court held that the lack of evidence regarding the size and appearance of the mud patch made summary judgment inappropriate. “The fact that Mr. Novak found mud on the sidewalk after he fell does not necessarily mean that a reasonable person would have discovered it upon ordinary inspection.” The case was remanded so the trial could continue.

Novak v. Giganti, 2014 – Ohio-2751 (9th Dist.)



Recreational Activity Doctrine: ATV Accident

Brumage v. Green, 2014-Ohio-2552 (2nd Dist.)

Brumage and Green were riding ATVs on a public roadway on their way back to Green’s house. When Green stopped in the middle of the roadway to enter his driveway, Brumage swerved to avoid Green’s ATV and flipped the vehicle, which caused serious injuries. Brumage sued Green to recover for his injuries.

The appellate court held that the lower court’s grant of summary judgment (dismissal of the case) in favor of the defendant, Green, was proper, because the risk of flipping while riding an ATV is an inherent risk of ATV riding. Since Brumage and Green were riding ATVs, they assumed the inherent risks associated with riding a dangerous vehicle and could not legally recover for injuries caused by negligence (this is known as the recreational activity doctrine). The plaintiff in this case could not recover without a showing of recklessness or intent to overcome the recreational activity doctrine. Despite the possibility that the defendant may have been reckless in stopping in the middle of a public road, the court never reached that issue because recklessness was not argued at the lower court.

Brumage v. Green, 2014-Ohio-2552 (2nd Dist.)




Mustard v. Owners Ins. Co.

Amanda Mustard and the other plaintiffs in this lawsuit had obtained a judgment (damages) against American Legion Inc. (the Post) in a prior lawsuit. The plaintiffs had recovered using dram shop liability (an establishment which serves alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person will be liable for the actions of the intoxicated person). The plaintiffs are suing now to obtain the judgment from the Post’s insurer, Owners Ins. Co.

The trial court below held for the insurance company and precluded recovery from the insurance policy. The 4th District court upheld the lower court decision, because the insurance policy excluded coverage when the insured is “in the business of” serving alcohol. The plaintiffs argued that Post was not in the business of serving alcohol due to the Post’s non-profit status. The court found this argument unpersuasive and upheld summary judgment in favor of the insurer, Owners Insurance Company.

Mustard v. Owners Ins. Co., 2014-Ohio- 865 (4th Dist.)

    ***These case summaries were adapted from the Ohio State Bar Association's official reports. All cases appear on the OSBA website at, as well as in the OSBA Report Online.***

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Slip & Fall
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and Dog Bites
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