In a victory for Ohio’s employers, the Ohio Supreme Court held, in a pair of opinions released today, that the employment intentional tort statute, R.C. 2745.01, is constitutional. R.C. 2745.01 severely limits an employee’s ability to file a lawsuit outside the workers’ compensation system for workplace injuries, thereby giving greater predictability to employers and avoiding costly litigation and potentially high jury verdicts.
Under R.C. 2745.01, for an employee to prevail with a suit for an intentional tort the employee must prove that the employer acted with an intent to injure another or with a deliberate intent to cause an employee to suffer an injury, disease, condition or death. The statute also creates a rebuttable presumption that an employer acted with the intent to injure based either on deliberate removal of an equipment safety guard or deliberate misrepresentation concerning a toxic or hazardous substance. If an employee cannot prove the elements contained in R.C. 2745.01, then the employee’s only recourse for compensation for a workplace injury is the workers’ compensation system.
The Ohio Supreme Court’s decisions today in Stetter v. R.J. Corman Derailment Services, LLC, 2010-Ohio-1029, and Kaminski v. Metal & Wire Products Co., 2010-Ohio-1027, put to rest a debate over the constitutionality of the intentional tort statute which has raged since its enactment in 2005.
For more information on the Ohio intentional tort statute or the Ohio Supreme Court’s decisions, please contact your principal Squire Sanders lawyer or one of the individuals listed in this Alert.