Ohio Senate Passes Tort, Asbestos Reforms

June 13, 2003

The Ohio Senate passed a litigation reform measure that will reportedly stem the tide of economic damage caused by out-of-control jury verdicts and other abuses of the tort system, according to a statement released by the American Insurance Association, an industry trade group.

Senate Bill 80 passed the chamber late Wednesday by a vote of 19-13.

“From non-economic damage awards that jeopardize the future of small businesses around the state, to an onslaught of asbestos claims that threatens to bankrupt major Ohio employers, Ohio’s economy is being dragged down by a tort system run amok,” said Stephen Schneider, AIA vice president, Midwest region.

“In passing SB 80, the Ohio Senate has taken a huge step toward reining in a litigation climate that has damaged the economic vitality of the state.”

In addition to its caps on non-economic and punitive damages, limits on attorney fees and a 10-year statute of repose for products and construction defects, SB 80 contains significant asbestos litigation reforms, including a requirement that plaintiffs meet certain medical criteria before they can sue for asbestos-related disease.

The measure, sponsored by Republican Sen. Steve Stivers, now moves to the Ohio House of Representatives.

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