Generally, and with a few notable exceptions including circumstances arising out of a plaintitf's public employment—no.
An Ohio political subdivision like a city or school district facing a personal-injury or negligence claim will avail itself of the broad grant of immunity from liability for damages related to any injury, death, or other loss resulting from its acts or omissions, or those of its employees. R.C. 2744.02 first grants political subdivisions immunity from such tort claims, then carves out several exceptions to that immunity, and then carves out exceptions to several of those exceptions.
Even if a claim survives a motion to dismiss under Rule of Civil Procedure12(b)(6), the school can still avail itself of several defenses available under R.C. 2744.03. And even if a claim is successful, R.C. 2744.05 generally caps damages at $250,000 for anything beyond the plaintiff’s “actual losses.”
Immunity: The statute starts with a broad grant of immunity “for injury, death, or loss to person or property allegedly caused by any act or omission of the political subdivision or an employee of the political subdivision in connection with a governmental or proprietary function.” (R.C. 2744.02(A).)
Exceptions: Notwithstanding the general grant of immunity, R.C. 2744.02(B) imposes liability for negligent conduct resulting in injury, death, or loss to person or property in specified situations:
Defenses: Despite those carveouts from immunity, R.C. 2744.03 provides several very broad defenses. Most relevant for our purposes are the defenses that the conduct:
The individual tortfeasor also enjoys personal immunity unless:
Damages: Even when a plaintiff can survive all that, the court will still limit damages. Compensatory damages are unlimited for “actual losses” such as medical expenses, wages, and property damage, but they are offset by any insurance benefits the plaintiff is entitled to receive. Compensatory damages are also capped—except in wrongful-death cases—for other damages, such as attorney’s fees, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and “any other intangible loss.” Punitive damages are againt political subdivisions are often prohibited, except where the dispute arises out of a public employee's employment.
You'll want The Chandra Law Firm LLC on your side as you navigate all of the defenses the government has at its disposal for harms it has caused you. You can reach our firm, which serves clients throughout Ohio and the nation, by calling 216-578-1700 or by filling out our online contact form.
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