In the case of Moss v. Lorain Bd. of Mental Retardation, 2016-Ohio-169, a student alleged that a board of developmental disabilities negligently and carelessly designed, constructed, and maintained a classroom kitchen that – according to the student – contained physical hazards that threatened the safety of students because a student spilled coffee from a coffee pot on himself. McGown & Markling represented the board of developmental disabilities and its staff in this case. Before the state appellate court, McGown & Markling argued that the coffee pot did not constitute a “physical defect” under the R.C. 2744.02(B)(4) exception to political subdivision immunity. The appellate court agreed, holding that there was no genuine issue of material fact whether the student’s injuries were due to a “physical defect” in the classroom as there was nothing in the record to suggest that anything in the kitchen did not perform as intended or was less useful than designed. The Ohio Supreme Court declined to accept jurisdiction over the student’s appeal.
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