Employer Law Report

Tag Archives: Intentional Tort

Insurance policies do not protect employers from intentional torts in Ohio

In Hoyle v. DTJ Ents., Inc., the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that provisions of an insurance policy do not require an insurance company to indemnify employers if they are found to have intentionally injured their employee.

On March 25, 2008, Duane Allen Hoyle, while working for DTJ Enterprises and Cavanaugh Building Corporation, fell approximately 14 feet from a ladder-jack scaffold, landed on concrete and suffered injuries. Hoyle sued his employers alleging claims of intentional tort, including an allegation that his supervisor would not permit him to use bolts and pins to secure the ladder jacks to the ladders. …

Ohio’s Sixth District Court of Appeals Finds a New Way to Expand Scope of the Employer Intentional Tort Statute

Until the Ohio legislature enacted R.C. 2745.01 in 2005, the employer intentional tort exception to workers’ compensation immunity exasperated Ohio employers. Under the exception as interpreted by the Ohio Supreme Court, employers could be held liable for an intentional tort (with the accompanying tort damages such as punitive damages) so long as they had knowledge of a dangerous condition in its workplace that was substantially certain to cause injury and nevertheless required its employee to work under that condition. This was a very relaxed standard for an “intentional” tort and one that was made even more relaxed by increasingly liberal …

Ohio Supreme Court Holds that Employee Not Wearing PPE Did Not Amount to a Deliberate Removal of an Equipment Safety Guard and Could Not Establish an Intentional Tort Claim

In Hewitt v. L.E. Myers Co., 2012-Ohio-5317, the Ohio Supreme Court held last week that protective gloves and sleeves are “personal protective items” that an employee controls and not equipment safety guards for purposes of stating a cause of action under Ohio’s intentional tort statute, which provides an exception to an employer’s workers’ compensation immunity. The Court also clarified that an employee claiming that his employer removed a safety guard—which creates a rebuttable presumption of intent to injure under the statute—must establish that the employer made a deliberate decision to lift, push aside, take off, or otherwise eliminate the …

Supreme Court Says No Duty To Defend Employer Intentional Tort Claims Under Stop Gap Insurance Endorsements

Under Ohio law, employees may sue their employer to recover damages for an employer intentional tort – even when the injuries are otherwise covered by workers’ compensation.  Because these cases can be costly to defend, employers historically have purchased commercial general liability policies with “stop-gap” insurance endorsements for years, believing these provisions imposed a duty to defend the employer against an employer intentional tort lawsuit.

On July 6, however, the Ohio Supreme Court decided Ward v. United Foundries, Inc., determining that Gulf Underwriters Insurance Company did not have a duty to defend United Foundries, Inc. under such a stop-gap …

Ohio Employer Intentional Tort Statute Survives Challenge

On Tuesday, in two separate decisions, the Ohio Supreme Court finally resolved the lingering question as to the constitutionality of a state law that limits the ability of workers who are injured on the job to sue their employers for a “workplace intentional tort” in addition to receiving workers’ compensation benefits. The challenged statute – RC § 2745.01 – requires that an injured worker bringing an intentional tort action against his employer must prove that the employer acted with a “deliberate intent to cause an employee to suffer an injury, a disease, a condition, or death.” 

In Kaminski v. Metal

Intentional Tort Amendment Found Unconstitutional

On March 18, 2008, the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Appellate District struck down the portion of Ohio’s Tort Reform Act that created a heightened standard for employees bringing intentional tort claims against their employers. Specifically, Kaminski v. Metal & Wire Prods. Co., Case No. 07-CO-15 (7th Dist. March 18, 2008), was the first appellate decision addressing the constitutionality of this heightened standard, and it found the standard improper.

Normally, an employee who suffers a workplace injury cannot file a lawsuit but must, instead, seek compensation under Ohio’s workers’ compensation system. Proof that the employer’s conduct was intentional, however, allows …