Rush v. City of Maple Heights

167 Ohio St. 221, 147 N.E.2d 599, cert. denied, 358 U.S. 814 (1958)

Yeazell, pp. 57-62


Facts: The plaintiff was thrown off a motorcycle when it hit a hole in the road.  She sued the city for damage to the motorcycle and won $100.  Then she sued the city for personal injuries.  The trial court found that the issues of negligence and proximate cause were already settled by the previous trial, and she won $12,000.  The city appealed to the Court of Appeals, which upheld the verdict.  Then the city appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court.


Issue: Should a plaintiff be allowed to bring separate causes of action for the same tort?


Rule: NEW RULE (in Ohio)!  When a person suffers both personal injuries and property damage stemming from the same tort, only one cause of action arises.


Analysis: The court reviews the ruling of other jurisdictions and finds that the single cause of action rule is the majority rule.  Ohio, at the time, allowed multiple causes of action to arise from the same tort.  The court buys into some arguments against this based on efficiency: we don’t want to multiply the number of suits in the courts, we don’t want unneeded expense, and we don’t want “vexatious litigation” against defendants.


Conclusion: The ruling of the trial court and Court of Appeals is reversed and judgment is entered for the defendant.


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