Run Over Our Citizens, But Don’t Mess With Our Soybeans

By:  Thomas J. Diehl (In 2008) 

   With the enactment of Senate Bill 80, damages in many tort actions 
are capped.  The jury’s determination of rightful compensation to a 
Plaintiff will be disregarded in many circumstances.  In any claim for 
damages for injury or loss to person or property, including product 
liability claims, a plaintiff who has suffered non-catastrophic or 
noneconomic damages is limited to the greater of Two Hundred Fifty 
Thousand Dollars ($250,000) or three times the economic loss,but not 
to exceed Three Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($350,000). 
 
               EXAMPLE NO. 1:    Plaintiff is injured in a non-catastrophic 
motorcycle accident and incurs medical bills of Ten Thousand Dollars 
($10,000) and a wage loss of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000), for total
special damages of Fifteen Thousand Dollars ($15,000).  The most he can 
receive for his non-economic loss (i.e. pain and suffering) is Two Hundred 
Fifty Thousand Dollars ($250,000).  3 x $15,000 = $45,000.  Plaintiff is
entitled to three times economic loss or Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars
($250,000), whichever is greater.
 
               EXAMPLE NO. 2:    Plaintiff is injured in a non-catastrophic
loss and incurs medical bills of One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000)
and wage loss of Twenty-Five Thousand Dollars ($25,000), for a total loss
of One Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Dollars ($125,000).  If a jury awards
pain and suffering of Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($500,000), that 
portion of the jury verdict will be reduced to Three Hundred Fifty 
Thousand Dollars ($350,000), because of the cap.  
 
   It seems odd that the Ohio legislature would protect 
drunk and reckless drivers at the expense of truly injured persons.  
Although the Ohio Legislature limits the recovery available to a 
plaintiff seriously injured in a car accident caused by a drunk
driver, it has made certain that producers of corn, wheat and 
soybeans injured by someone speaking badly of their products
are fully compensated.  Ohio Rev. Code §2307.81 subjects anyone
who falsely disparages an Ohio agricultural or aquacultural 
food product, to “in addition to any award of punitive damages, 
damages in an amount up to three times the amount of compensatory 
damages.”
 
    Thus, the Ohio Legislature has chosen to place a cap on the
damages a drunk driver will pay, while it subjects those that may 
dare to disparage a soybean to treble damages.

http://www.thomasjdiehl.com

 

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