Appellate court tosses out lawsuit against Youngstown

Staff report


A three-judge panel of the 7th District Court of Appeals has unanimously ordered a lawsuit against the city over a purportedly dangerous catch basin dismissed without a trial.

The lawsuit was brought by Carol Rastaedt, who said her leg was injured Oct. 20, 2009, when her left foot slipped down a slope in the street that led to a sewer catch basin, and her leg entered the catch basin at Walnut and Adams streets.

Rastaedt said she was injured while crossing Walnut Street in the dark after leaving a class at Youngstown State University.

Rastaedt sued the city in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, saying the city was responsible for her injuries because it had a duty to keep its streets in a safe condition.

Visiting Judge Thomas J. Pokorny denied the city’s request to dismiss the suit without a trial, saying a jury should decide whether the city was at fault.

The appeals court, however, ruled Monday that the suit must be dismissed without a trial because, under a legal principle giving broad immunity from such suits to cities, the city can be held liable only if it ignored notice of a faulty condition.

There was no evidence in this case the city had been notified “of the alleged dangerous condition,” the appeals court said.

The decision was written by Judge Gene Donofrio, with Judges Joseph J. Vukovich and Cheryl L. Waite concurring.

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