Columbus — The Ohio Supreme Court has sided with the family of a boy who injured his leg at the Natatorium swimming pool, allowing a civil suit against the city in the matter.
Justices, in a unanimous decision, said a state law granting civil immunity to local governments did not bar the family of Michael Hawsman from seeking damages following the 2006 incident.
Hawsman and his parents alleged the diving board at the city-owned pool was not properly maintained, causing the accident. But the city, citing a section of Ohio Revised Code, said it was immune from civil liability.
A trial court ruled in favor of the city, but the Ninth District Court of Appeals reversed the decision. The city sought a ruling from the state’s high court.
The Ohio Supreme Court said the facts of the case fell within an exception in state law to immunity from civil lawsuits, affirming the appeals court decision and remanding the case to the trial court for further proceedings.
According to the ruling, “The complaint alleged that the city was negligent in the care or control of its pool or diving board and that the negligence caused the injury suffered by M.H. The pool is within a building that is ‘used in connection with the performance of a governmental function.’”
The ruling added, “This case seems to fit clearly within the exception …”
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.