(A)(1) For the purposes of this chapter, the functions of political subdivisions are hereby classified as governmental functions and proprietary functions. Except as provided in division (B) of this section, a political subdivision is not liable in damages in a civil action for injury, death, or loss to person or property allegedly caused by any act or omission of the political subdivision or an employee of the political subdivision in connection with a governmental or proprietary function.
Terms Used In Ohio Code 2744.02
- Another: when used to designate the owner of property which is the subject of an offense, includes not only natural persons but also every other owner of property. See Ohio Code 1.02
- Corporation: A legal entity owned by the holders of shares of stock that have been issued, and that can own, receive, and transfer property, and carry on business in its own name.
- Damages: Money paid by defendants to successful plaintiffs in civil cases to compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries.
- Emergency call: means a call to duty, including, but not limited to, communications from citizens, police dispatches, and personal observations by peace officers of inherently dangerous situations that demand an immediate response on the part of a peace officer. See Ohio Code 2744.01
- Employee: includes any elected or appointed official of a political subdivision. See Ohio Code 2744.01
- governmental function: includes , but is not limited to, the following:
(a) The provision or nonprovision of police, fire, emergency medical, ambulance, and rescue services or protection;
(b) The power to preserve the peace; to prevent and suppress riots, disturbances, and disorderly assemblages; to prevent, mitigate, and clean up releases of oil and hazardous and extremely hazardous substances as defined in section 3750. See Ohio Code 2744.01
- Jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
- Law: means any provision of the constitution, statutes, or rules of the United States or of this state; provisions of charters, ordinances, resolutions, and rules of political subdivisions; and written policies adopted by boards of education. See Ohio Code 2744.01
- Person: includes an individual, corporation, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, and association. See Ohio Code 1.59
- Political subdivision: includes , but is not limited to, a county hospital commission appointed under section 339. See Ohio Code 2744.01
- Property: means real and personal property. See Ohio Code 1.59
- proprietary function: includes , but is not limited to, the following:
(a) The operation of a hospital by one or more political subdivisions;
(b) The design, construction, reconstruction, renovation, repair, maintenance, and operation of a public cemetery other than a township cemetery;
(c) The establishment, maintenance, and operation of a utility, including, but not limited to, a light, gas, power, or heat plant, a railroad, a busline or other transit company, an airport, and a municipal corporation water supply system;
(d) The maintenance, destruction, operation, and upkeep of a sewer system;
(e) The operation and control of a public stadium, auditorium, civic or social center, exhibition hall, arts and crafts center, band or orchestra, or off-street parking facility. See Ohio Code 2744.01
- Public roads: means public roads, highways, streets, avenues, alleys, and bridges within a political subdivision. See Ohio Code 2744.01
- subdivision: means a municipal corporation, township, county, school district, or other body corporate and politic responsible for governmental activities in a geographic area smaller than that of the state. See Ohio Code 2744.01
(2) The defenses and immunities conferred under this chapter apply in connection with all governmental and proprietary functions performed by a political subdivision and its employees, whether performed on behalf of that political subdivision or on behalf of another political subdivision.
(3) Subject to statutory limitations upon their monetary jurisdiction, the courts of common pleas, the municipal courts, and the county courts have jurisdiction to hear and determine civil actions governed by or brought pursuant to this chapter.
(B) Subject to sections 2744.03 and 2744.05 of the Revised Code, a political subdivision is liable in damages in a civil action for injury, death, or loss to person or property allegedly caused by an act or omission of the political subdivision or of any of its employees in connection with a governmental or proprietary function, as follows:
(1) Except as otherwise provided in this division, political subdivisions are liable for injury, death, or loss to person or property caused by the negligent operation of any motor vehicle by their employees when the employees are engaged within the scope of their employment and authority. The following are full defenses to that liability:
(a) A member of a municipal corporation police department or any other police agency was operating a motor vehicle while responding to an emergency call and the operation of the vehicle did not constitute willful or wanton misconduct;
(b) A member of a municipal corporation fire department or any other firefighting agency was operating a motor vehicle while engaged in duty at a fire, proceeding toward a place where a fire is in progress or is believed to be in progress, or answering any other emergency alarm and the operation of the vehicle did not constitute willful or wanton misconduct;
(c) A member of an emergency medical service owned or operated by a political subdivision was operating a motor vehicle while responding to or completing a call for emergency medical care or treatment, the member was holding a valid commercial driver’s license issued pursuant to Chapter 4506. or a driver’s license issued pursuant to Chapter 4507 of the Revised Code, the operation of the vehicle did not constitute willful or wanton misconduct, and the operation complies with the precautions of section 4511.03 of the Revised Code.
(2) Except as otherwise provided in sections 3314.07 and 3746.24 of the Revised Code, political subdivisions are liable for injury, death, or loss to person or property caused by the negligent performance of acts by their employees with respect to proprietary functions of the political subdivisions.
(3) Except as otherwise provided in section 3746.24 of the Revised Code, political subdivisions are liable for injury, death, or loss to person or property caused by their negligent failure to keep public roads in repair and other negligent failure to remove obstructions from public roads, except that it is a full defense to that liability, when a bridge within a municipal corporation is involved, that the municipal corporation does not have the responsibility for maintaining or inspecting the bridge.
(4) Except as otherwise provided in section 3746.24 of the Revised Code, political subdivisions are liable for injury, death, or loss to person or property that is caused by the negligence of their employees and that occurs within or on the grounds of, and is due to physical defects within or on the grounds of, buildings that are used in connection with the performance of a governmental function, including, but not limited to, office buildings and courthouses, but not including jails, places of juvenile detention, workhouses, or any other detention facility, as defined in section 2921.01 of the Revised Code.
(5) In addition to the circumstances described in divisions (B)(1) to (4) of this section, a political subdivision is liable for injury, death, or loss to person or property when civil liability is expressly imposed upon the political subdivision by a section of the Revised Code, including, but not limited to, sections 2743.02 and 5591.37 of the Revised Code. Civil liability shall not be construed to exist under another section of the Revised Code merely because that section imposes a responsibility or mandatory duty upon a political subdivision, because that section provides for a criminal penalty, because of a general authorization in that section that a political subdivision may sue and be sued, or because that section uses the term “shall” in a provision pertaining to a political subdivision.
(C) An order that denies a political subdivision or an employee of a political subdivision the benefit of an alleged immunity from liability as provided in this chapter or any other provision of the law is a final order.