Ohio Court Upholds State Tort Reform

By December 28, 2007Briefly Legal

The Ohio Supreme Court affirms the constitutionality of limits on damage awards, a decision that will help curb the caprice that does so much damage to respect for the law and U.S. economy. Jackpot justice loses, in other words. From The Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Columbus- The Ohio Supreme Court has given its stamp of approval to caps on damage awards in personal-injury lawsuits, declaring them constitutional in a 5-2 decision Thursday.

A business group that has pushed tort reform as critical to Ohio’s economic health cheered the ruling, while one of the dissenting justices called it “a sad day for the court” and “a tragic day for Ohioans.”

The court upheld caps approved by the legislature in 2004. One limits awards for pain and suffering and other intangible injuries to $350,000 unless the injured person lost a limb or bodily organ. The other restricts punitive damages to twice the amount of damages awarded as compensation for injuries.

The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association comments:

“This is a major victory for manufacturers in Ohio that is years in the making,” said OMA President Eric Burkland. “The court’s decision enhances Ohio’s ability to create a predictable legal environment in which businesses pursue market opportunities within a common sense civil justice system without fear of costly, unnecessary lawsuits.”

The OMA has posted the slip opinion here.

Other coverage:

  • Cincinnati Enquirer.
  • Toledo Blade.
  • Associated Press.
  • UPDATE (3:25 p.m.) The NAM was one of six business groups that submitted a brief supporting the caps. You can read our summary of the case and the brief by going here.

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