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655 Metro Place South, Metro V Building, Suite 140 Dublin, OH 43017 Phone 614.341.6800 Fax 614.341.

6810

ForImmediateRelease Contact:JohnVanDoorn ExecutiveDirector,OhioAssociationforJustice (614)3416800

OhioSupremeCourtdecisionablowtovictims
DecisionprotectsinsuranceindustryattheexpenseofConstitutionalrighttoafairtrial ColumbusTheOhioAssociationforJustice(OAJ)decriedadecisiontodaybythestates highestcourttoupholdlegislationenactedin2005thatisaimedatlimitingvictimsrightsand protectingtheinsuranceindustrysbottomline.ThedecisioncenteredonSenateBill80,which calledforbifurcatingtrialsasawayoflimitingwhatjuriescouldhearaboutawrongdoers actionsandtherebylimitingtheamountofdamagesforwhichtheyandtheirinsurance companieswouldbeliable. TodaysdecisionisheartbreakingforOhiovictimsandtheirfamiliesseekingjusticeand accountabilityfromthosewhoharmthem,saidDeniseHouston,OAJPresident.AjuryofOhio citizensiscapableofdeterminingrightfromwrong,butthislawtakesthatabilityfromthem. ThislawsendsthemessagethatprofitscomebeforepeopleinOhio. Todaysdecision,whichcentersonthecaseHavelv.VillaSt.Joseph,dealtwithaprovisionof the2005socalledtortreformlawthatsayscasescanbedividedorbifurcatedintotwo phasesifbothcompensatoryandpunitivedamagesaresought.Beforethislaw,ajuryofOhio citizenswouldhearalltheevidenceinacaseandthendecidewhatcompensatorydamages shouldbeawarded,basedonthingslikemedicalbills,lostwages,andfuturedamages.Thejury wouldconcurrentlydetermineifpunitivedamagesarewarrantedbasedontheneedtopunish egregiousbehavioranddeteritfromhappeninginthefuture. Oncethelawpassed,casescannowbebifurcatedwithonetrialforcompensatorydamagesand aseparatetrialforpunitivedamages.Injuredvictimsarenowpreventedfromintroducing evidencethatisnotdirectlyrelatedtocompensatorydamagesinthattrialandviceversa.So whatdoesthatmeanintherealworld?Ifsomeoneisseverelyinjuredbyadrunkdriverwhohad beenoutallnightdrinkingtoexcessatmultiplebarsbeforegettingbehindthewheel,ajury decidingcompensatorydamageswouldneverknowit.Onlyinaseparatetrialoverpunitive damageswouldthejuryhearanyevidenceabouthowplasteredthedrunkdriverwas.

655 Metro Place South, Metro V Building, Suite 140 Dublin, OH 43017 Phone 614.341.6800 Fax 614.341.6810
OrdinaryOhioanshadmoreoftheirConstitutionalrightsstrippedawaytodaybythisdecision insupportofaboguslawthatisdesignedtopadinsurancecompanyprofits.ThetwelveOhio citizenssittingonajuryshouldbeabletohearalltheevidenceinonetrial,saidHouston.It costsvictimstimeandmoneytoconducttwoseparatetrials,inorderfortheinjuredtoreceive thejusticetheydeserve.ItsasaddayforOhioconsumers. Foundedin1954,theOhioAssociationforJusticeistheonlystatewideassociationofattorneys whosemissionistopreserveourConstitutionalrightsandprotectaccesstotheciviljustice systemforallOhioansthroughadvocacyintheCourthouse,Statehouse,andBureauofWorkers Compensation.