State Court Divided: Is a Lack of Safety Equipment in Classroom Considered a ‘Physical Defect’? |

In reviewing conflicting state intermediate appellate court rulings, a divided Ohio Supreme Court majority held for the first time that the absence of a fire extinguisher or other safety equipment in a school could be a “physical defect” such that an exception to immunity could exist.

In the case at issue, the family of two female students filed a complaint against the Greenville City Schools, including the board of education, the high school principal, and a high school science teacher in May 2020. The students suffered severe burns in December 2019 when a bottle of isopropyl alcohol caught fire and exploded in science class, according to the majority opinion filed Wednesday.

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