Rowe v. Hoist & Crane Serv. Group, Inc.

[Cite as Rowe v. Hoist & Crane Serv. Group, Inc., 2022-Ohio-3130.] COURT OF APPEALS OF OHIO EIGHTH APPELLATE DISTRICT COUNTY OF CUYAHOGA JOSEPH ROWE, ET AL., : Plaintiffs-Appellants, : No. 110921 v. : HOIST & CRANE SERVICE GROUP INC., : Defendant-Appellee. : JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION JUDGMENT: AFFIRMED RELEASED AND JOURNALIZED: September 8, 2022 Civil Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CV-19-922748 Appearances: SPITZ, Brian D. Spitz, Daniel S. Dubow, and Rocco Screnci, for appellants. Ritzler, Coughlin & Paglia, Ltd., Michael A. Paglia, and Colin P. Sammon, for appellee. EMANUELLA D. GROVES, J.: Appellants Joseph Rowe (“Joseph”) and Joshua Rowe (“Joshua”), (collectively “Appellants”), appeal the trial court’s judgment granting appellee Hoist & Crane Services Group, Inc.’s (“HCSG”), motions for judgment on the pleadings and for summary judgment. For the reasons that follow, we affirm. Procedural History and Factual Background HCSG provides service and maintenance for companies that use industrial cranes and hoists in their operations. Employees of HCSG travel to client sites, usually as two-person teams consisting of a lead technician and a technician assistant or apprentice. HCSG hired Joshua on February 5, 2018, as a service technician. Joshua had prior training and expertise in overhead door maintenance. So, he acted as a lead technician for that type of job. In other jobs, he acted as a technician assistant. On February 28, 2018, HCSG hired Joseph, Joshua’s brother, as a technician assistant. Appellant’s Safety Concerns During the course of their employment, Appellants raised several safety issues with HCSG. Joseph urged Jeff Pritchard (“Pritchard”), HCSG’s Cleveland Branch Manager, to provide employees with training for boom and aerial lifts. Joseph believed certification was required to operate that equipment, especially for governmental jobs. He believed having untrained workers operate this machinery subjected him and his coworkers to an unsafe work environment. Joseph urged Pritchard at least once per month to secure certification training for all employees on the equipment. Pritchard, according to Joseph, refused to secure certification training because it was too expensive. Nevertheless, according to Joseph, HCSG routinely instructed workers to tell clients that they were certified even though they were not. On April 8, 2019, Joseph asked Pritchard again to arrange training and certification for employees. He stressed again that it was not safe to have uncertified technicians operating that equipment. He also told Pritchard that he would no longer tell clients that he was certified for the equipment. In addition to training, both Appellants complained to Pritchard about personal protective equipment (“PPE”). Joseph routinely complained to Pritchard that the safety cabinet was missing or had inadequate PPE. Specifically, safety glasses, gloves, harnesses, hard hats, and respirators were either missing or in poor condition. Joshua also raised this issue. In January 2019, Joshua told Pritchard that his harness was badly worn and needed to be replaced. Pritchard told Joshua that he would address the issue, however, as of March 2019, he had not done so. Joshua verbally reported the issue to HCSG’s safety manager noting the …

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