Ohio Supreme Court won't hear Boardman cyclist's case against Mill Creek Park
The Ohio Supreme Court has announced that it won't hear the appeal from a Boardman man who says he was injured when his bicycle struck a “yard wide” sized pothole in Mill Creek Park.
George Farris sought the appeal after a decision by the Seventh District Court of Appeals overturning a lower court ruling that found in favor of Farris, who claims to have suffered broken ribs and other injuries when his bicycle ran into a pothole along Chestnut Hill Drive in 2019.
Farris says his bike flipped over, rendering him unconscious for a time.
The trial court refused to dismiss Farris’s suit, claiming that the park district’s claim of recreational immunity did not apply in this case because Chestnut Hill Drive is used for vehicular traffic, and not exclusively for recreation such as biking and hiking.
The appeals court disagreed with the original ruling and sent the case back to the trial court with instructions to issue a judgment in favor of the park, whose attorneys argued that the pothole was “open and obvious”, even though Farris claimed the pothole was concealed by shadows.
"Apparently, the courts believe it's OK to hide behind the archaic 'recreational immunity' clause in the law, but I think it's a cop-out," Farris said in a release. "Any facility open to the public has a responsibility to maintain a safe environment for the public to use."
While Farris expressed his disappointment in the decision, he also said he was not surprised. Despite his failed case, Farris says he has noticed many of the roads in the park have been repaired.
"Hopefully that will save others from injury," he said.