Risner v. Ohio Dep’t of Transp.Annotate this Case
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.