While Transit Entity Was Not Entitled to Summary Judgment Based on Municipal Immunity Where Issue of Fact Existed Whether Bus Driver Was Negligent, Driver Himself Was Entitled to Summary Judgment.

Marshall Dennehey
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Mencini v. Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, 221 N.E.3d 200, 2023-Ohio-2299 (Ohio App. July 6, 2023)

This matter addressed the applicability of Ohio’s sovereign and municipal liability laws as they pertain to transit companies and their drivers/employees. Though, generally speaking, government entities can be immune from liability for decision-making functions, negligence by its employees—namely the alleged negligent operation of a motor vehicle by the bus driver—qualifies as an exception to those rules. This was affirmed by the appeals court.

However, the standard applied to the driver required a level of bad faith or wanton conduct rising beyond a level of general negligence allegations. This appears to place bus drivers in Ohio in a similarly situated position to that of police officers, where negligence in performing their duties cannot create individual liability. Summary judgment was granted dismissing the driver from the action.

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