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Sikora v. Wenzel

Ohio Supreme Court
727 N.E.2d 1277 (1995)


Facts

Sikora (plaintiff) was injured when a deck attached to a condominium collapsed during a party he was attending. Subsequently, an engineering firm hired by the city concluded that the collapse resulted from improper construction and design, in violation of Ohio Basic Building Code (OBBC) laws. A decade before, Zink Road Manor Investment (Zink) had owned the land on which the condominium building was built. The plans for the building, which included the specifications for the decks, were submitted to and rejected by the City, because they violated the OBBC laws. Zink offered to modify the deck specifications and, based in part on those assurances, received a certificate of occupancy from the city. However, city officials never inspected the decks during construction and received no updated construction plans from Zink. After construction was completed, Wenzel (defendant) purchased the building from Zink. Wenzel had no knowledge of the design and construction issues pertaining to the decks. Sikora filed suit against Wenzel, the contractor, and the design company (defendants), alleging each was jointly and severally liable for negligence. The trial court granted summary judgment in Wenzel’s favor on the basis that he lacked notice of the defect in the deck. Sikora appealed. The court of appeals reversed and held that the notice requirement was irrelevant for purposes of holding Wenzel liable under state law. The Ohio Supreme Court granted certiorari to review.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Cook, J.)

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