Justia Transportation Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio
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The Supreme Court held that Ohio's antiblocking statute, Ohio Rev. Code 5589.21, which prohibits a stopped train from blocking a railroad crossing for more than five minutes, is preempted by the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act, 49 U.S.C. 10101 et seq., and that the Federal Railroad Safety Act, 49 U.S.C. 20101 et seq., does not exempt section 5589.21 from the Termination Act's preemptive force.The State charged CSX Transportation, Inc. with violating section 5589.21 on five occasions. The trial court dismissed the charges, concluding that the Termination Act and the Safety Act preempted section 5589.21. The court of appeals reversed, holding that federal law did not preempt the antiblocking statute. The Supreme Court reversed and reinstated the trial court's dismissal of the charges brought against CSX, holding that section 5589.21 is preempted by federal law and therefore may not be enforced against CSX. View "State v. CSX Transportation, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that Section 858.01 of the Codified Ordinances of the Village of Put-In-Bay does not impose an unconstitutional tax on motor vehicles.The Village filed separate criminal complaints against Defendants, who operated businesses that made motorized golf cars available for rent within the Village, for failing to pay the annual license fee on their golf carts. The trial court dismissed the criminal complaints on the basis that section 858.01 is for a similar purpose as the annual state license tax levied on the operation of motor vehicles under Ohio Rev. Code 4503.02 and the local government tax permitted by Ohio Rev. Code 4504.02 and 4504.06. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that section 858.01 was not preempted by state law and did not violate Ohio Const. art. XII, 5a. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the tax is a constitutional exercise of the municipality's right to tax; and (2) section 858.01 does not impose an unconstitutional tax. View "Put-in-Bay v. Mathys" on Justia Law

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Amber Risner was killed in a collision with a tractor-trailer at the intersection of State Route 220 and State Route 332. Appellees, Amber’s parents, filed a complaint as the administrators of Amber’s estate against the Ohio Department of Transportation (“ODOT”), alleging negligent design and maintenance of the intersection. The court of claims granted summary judgment in favor of ODOT, concluding that ODOT was performing maintenance, rather than highway improvement, when it installed flashing lights in the intersection, and therefore, ODOT did not have a duty to upgrade the intersection to current design standards. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) ODOT is immune from liability with respect to its decisions whether to improve an existing highway and what type of improvements it will make; (2) however, in executing its decisions to improve a highway, ODOT may be subject to liability if it fails to act in accordance with current construction standards; and (3) applying the discretionary-function doctrine to the facts of this case, ODOT is immune from liability for damages resulting from its decisions at issue here. View "Risner v. Ohio Dep’t of Transp." on Justia Law