Ohio Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (OCALA) today applauded Senate President Doug White, who abruptly announced
Wednesday that the Senate would adjourn for the year and demanded the House of Representatives pass SB 80 by midnight or it would die. The House complied with Senator White’s demands and passed SB 80 at four minutes before midnight by a vote of 62-31. The bill now goes to the Governor for his signature.
SB 80, Ohio’s civil justice reform package, passed the Senate in 2003 and had been languishing in the House ever since. The legislation does not limit the recovery of economic damages, such as lost wages and medical bills. But, it does cap small business liabilities for non-economic damages at $350,000 per person in jury awards for non-catastrophic damages. SB 80 also contains the provisions of HB 350 to limit the liability of food manufacturers and
“It was obvious to everyone involved that the House was going to water
down the bill so much that it would sink. Thankfully, Senator White had the political will to step in and demand the House pass a bill that would help jumpstart Ohio’s economy,” said Jeff Longstreth, executive director for OCALA.
“While this legislation is not perfect, it provides a good start to
overhauling Ohio’s tort system. The bill will not only protect Ohio’s food manufacturers from frivolous lawsuits, it will also help to revive our economy by protecting our small business owners,” said Longstreth.
According to Longstreth, “It is well documented that overzealous personal injury lawyers can have a devastating effect on our economy. In fact, recent studies have concluded that Ohioans pay more than $800 per year in hidden tort taxes. We all pay
more for healthcare in higher doctor’s bills, prescription drug costs, and insurance premiums. We also pay more for consumer items such as step ladders, because the manufacturers are scared to death of being sued. Ohio has already lost more than 200,000 manufacturing jobs; we cannot afford to lose anymore. This bill is a step in the right direction toward restoring Ohio as an ideal
place to live and do business.”
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