Brake Lining Manufacturer’s Summary Judgment Affirmed in Part in Second Filing in Different Counties

OHIO — Plaintiff Margie Taylor, the executor of the estate of her father Russell Young, originally filed claims against Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, alleging that Young was exposed to asbestos from work on aircraft brake linings during his employment with Goodyear Aerospace Corporation. Goodyear filed a motion for summary judgment on premises liability, negligent undertaking, and intentional tort claims, which was granted by the court in an entry on the electronic “File & Serve” docket, and journalized with the Clerk of Courts with language indicating “there is no just reason for delay pursuant to Ohio Rule of Civil Procedure 54(B).” The plaintiff moved to vacate the 54(B) language of the summary judgment order, which was granted on the File & Serve docket, but never journalized. The Cuyahoga County case was subsequently dismissed.

The plaintiff filed a second lawsuit in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas against several defendants, including Goodyear, and included claims for premises liability, negligent undertaking, intentional tort, and products liability. Goodyear moved for summary judgment, arguing that res judicata barred the three claims asserted against it in both the Cuyahoga and Summit County actions. The trial court granted the motion as to the premises liability, negligent undertaking, and intentional tort claims, and the plaintiff appealed the ruling. Although the plaintiff’s motion to remove the 54(B) language from the order in Cuyahoga County was granted, it was not journalized. Citing Ohio authority that holds that courts only speak through journalized entries, the appellate court affirmed the application of res judicata and barred the claims.

Goodyear also moved for summary judgment on the products liability claims, arguing that Ohio products liability law required a showing that a product was defective when it left the control of a manufacturer, and that this could not be demonstrated by the plaintiff as Young allegedly worked on the aircraft brakes during the manufacturing process. The trial court granted Goodyear’s motion and the plaintiff appealed. The appellate court reversed, finding a dispute of fact regarding the Goodyear entities controlling the manufacture of the aircraft brakes. They further stated that they could not hold as a matter of law that a product that is still in the manufacturing process is in the control of the manufacturer for purposes of products liability.

Read the full decision here.