Kerg v. Atlantic Tool & Die Co.

176 Ohio App.3d 437, 2008-Ohio-2364, 892 N.E.2d 481 (8th Dist. 2008)

This was an appeal from the trial court’s granting of summary judgment to the defendant employer in a workplace injury case. Marie Kerg was a trainee working night shift as a press operator at Atlantic Tool & Die Co. The steel she worked with came in coils that weighed anywhere from a couple hundred pounds to fifteen hundred pounds or more. In addition to operating the press, she was expected to assist in the process of changing coils. This was a two-person operation, performed by the press operator and a tow motor operator. The tow motor operator would place the coil on the mandrel, after which the press operator would step forward to operate a crank securing it in place. Before this could be done, the press operator would need to fasten two metal clamps onto the front of the mandrel to keep the coil from falling forward, and the tow motor would have to lift the coil so that the press operator could more easily crank open the mandrel.

Due to Kerg’s newness at the job, the inadequate training the company gave her, and the fact that the tow motor operator that night was also inexperienced in performing this operation, the coil fell as Kerg moved forward to secure it, crushing her hand. As a result, Kerg filed this action against her employer alleging a common law cause of action for employer intentional tort, and against the manufacturer of the mandrel for product liability.

Both defendants filed motions for summary judgment, which the trial court granted. The court of appeals reversed as to the employer, finding that there were genuine issues of material fact as to whether the employer committed an intentional tort under the governing law set forth in Fyffe v. Jeno’s, Inc., 59 Ohio St.3d 115 (1991). The court affirmed the summary judgment granted to the manufacturer.

Plaintiff’s attorneys on the appeal: Thomas Mester, Jonathan D. Mester, Kathleen J. St. John