Friday, December 10, 2004
Early Thursday morning, the Ohio General Assembly passed tort reform legislation that will place caps on pain-and-suffering damages and punitive awards. Governor Bob Taft commended the passage of the bill and will sign it. This bill is the Ohio's third attempt to pass tort reform. The two prior bills have been declared unconstitutional and many attorneys have stated that this new bill may suffer many of the same defects as those earlier enactments. As The Cincinnati Enquirer reports,
"The bill, for instance, puts caps on noneconomic "pain-and-suffering" damage awards in cases where injuries are not considered catastrophic.
But caps on awards "have been held to be unconstitutional at least twice" by the Ohio Supreme Court, said Peter Weinberger, a Cleveland plaintiff's attorney and chairman of the legislative committee of the Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers, which lobbied against the bill."
It will be interesting to follow the fate of this bill. Ohio's Supreme Court, which is elected, has recently changed so it is difficult to predict how the new court will rule on the caps constitutionality issue.