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Blogrolls and Telephone Poles

Here's a notice of appeal I think every lawyer has thought about filing at some point in his career.  You might want to save it as a form and use it where appropriate.

A blog I've added to the Blog Roll is the one done by the Cleveland Law Library.  It offers a quick run-down of events concerning Ohio law, and is worth checking out a couple times a week.  Another one you might want to take a look at is the Volokh Conspiracy, a politico-legal blog written by a couple of law professors at the University of Chicago, dealing with, well, political-legal issues, like the Patriot Act and gay marriage.  And just about everything else:  Sunday's post, for example, explained how Federal regulations prohibit wine makers from touting the health benefits of red wine.  I'll drink to that.

Back to the cases.  If you've got a personal injury case involving your client, or the car he was riding in, hitting a utility pole, you'll want to look at the 8th District's decision last week in Turner v. Ohio Bell.  The car in which the plaintiff's decedent had been riding ran off the road, striking a telephone pole just two and a half feet from the berm.  The trial court had tossed the case on summary judgment, but the appellate court reversed.  It rejected the defendants' contention that the pole had to actually be placed on the highway for liability to exist -- and why the defendants made such a ridiculous contention is known only to them and their god -- and held that

As long as the pole is within the right of way and in such close proximity to the road as to create an unreasonable danger to the traveling public, liability may exist.

The opinion by Judge Gallagher does a nice review of prior Ohio law, distinguishing cases where the pole had been more than ten feet from the berm, and holds that the closeness here presented a jury question.

One of the benefits of doing a blog like this is that it you begin to form an impression of the court as a whole, whether it's pro-plaintiff or pro-prosecution or whatever.  Of course, there are twelve judges on the 8th District bench, and the result in any case depends upon which three wind up on the panel.  Overall, though, it appears to lean a bit more toward plaintiffs in personal injury and especially consumer cases, with some exceptions.  (For example, the "open and obvious" doctrine is applied in slip and fall cases with a vengeance.)  And some of the judges who wind up closer to the plaintiff side come as a bit of a surprise.

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