Thursday, January 17, 2013

Rush v. City of Maple Heights case brief

Rush v. City of Maple Heights
167 Ohio St. 221, 147 N.E.2d 599 (1958)

Rush, the Plaintiff, brought a suit for property damages that resulted from the Defendant, the City of Maple Heights.  Rush also brought suit for negligence and another suit in a different court for personal injuries suffered as a result of the negligence.

-The Plaintiff suffered property damages to her motorcycle as well as personal injuries to her body as a result of the Defendant City's negligence in maintaining the street.
-The Plaintiff sued Maple Heights (D) in negligence in Municipal Court and was awarded $100.
-The Plaintiff also brought an action in the Court of Common Pleas for personal injuries that were sustained as a result of the motorcycle accident.
-Her motion on the issue of damages was granted under "res judicata" because of the Municipal Court action.
-Plaintiff was awarded the sum of $12,000 and the Court of Appeals affirmed this ruling.

Did the courts error in permitting the Plaintiff to split her cause of action into two?

It is improper to bring different claims for damages to property and personal damages, both arising from the same tort.

-A Plaintiff may only maintain one action to enforce his rights existing at the time such action is commenced. 

 The court noted that in a prior case, it was held that a single tort could be the basis of but one action. -The measure of damages as well as all of the damages that are sustained must be sued for in one suit. -This one suit rule is necessary to prevent multiplicity of suits, which results in the burdensome expense and delays to plaintiffs and vexatious litigation against defendants.
-The Court reasoned that there existed no valid reason to distinguish between the injuries to the person and damages to the person’s property resulting from a single tort.

Judge Zimmerman dissented, arguing that established law should remain undisturbed in order to insure some stability on which the lower courts and the legal profession generally may rely with some degree of confidence.

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