Tag Archives: 304 east warren street

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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JOINT AND SEVERAL LIABILITY: TIPS FOR AVOIDING PITFALLS

By:  Tom Diehl (In 2008)

   In the last edition of the Co-Counsel Reporter, we discussed the 
pitfalls occasioned by the  recent modifications and abrogation of 
joint and several liability as set forth in SB 120.  Specifically, 
if a defendant can convince the trier of fact that a different 
defendant has some liability for the injuries sustained, the 
defendants will be liable for the overall damages only according to 
their percentage of liability.  This can have disastrous consequences 
if the “other defendant” is not a party to the suit or is judgment proof.



   To help minimize the potential for disastrous consequences, 
plaintiff's counsel should consider these strategies:

    *    File discovery early requesting the defendant to identify and 
         specify any other defendants allegedly having liability for 
         injuries caused. Consider, submitting requests for admissions 
         demanding defendant to deny the existence of other liable 
         defendants;

    *    In the initial complaint, bring claims against all potential 
         liable
         party defendants;
 
    *    When partially settling with the joint tortfeasor, release 
         only that tortfeasor;
 
    *    Consider filing a challenge to the constitutionality of 
         SB120 -- send a copy of the challenge to the Ohio Attorney 
         General. Grounds for potential constitutional challenge 
         include an argument that SB 120 violates Article II 
         Section 15 (One Subject Rule) or Article IV Section 5  
         (Separation of Powers).


   At Thomas J. Diehl & Co., LLC, we have been handling personal 
injury claims in Southwest Ohio since 1988. We regularly work with 
counsel in ethical fee sharing arrangements.  Thomas J. Diehl is a 
Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America and a member of the
Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

http://www.ThomasJDiehl.com

 

Ryan Widmer Trial Update- The Jury Deliberates

By Marty Hubbell

Closing arguments ended today in Ryan Widmer’s third trial for the murder of his wife.  This was the attorneys’ opportunity to tell the jury what they believed the evidence showed throughout the case.  The jury will be instructed that the arguments of counsel are not to be considered as evidence.

After closing arguments the judge read the jury instructions and the jurors entered the jury room for deliberations.  All of the exhibits will accompany them, together with the verdict forms. 

Some thoughts on the Widmer case:

1.         Truth really is stranger than fiction.  This case has a lead detective who lied on his police application, a surprise witness that used to work in an Iowa strip joint, a third murder trial, and a married female witness who flew in from Seattle to support the defendant.  And, of course, an expert who worked on the Kennedy assassination and testified at the O.J. Simpson murder trial.

2.         The State’s surprise witness, Jennifer Crew, testified that Ryan Widmer confessed the murder to her.  This witness walked into court with quite a bit of baggage.  But the State had to call her as a witness, as a confession will certainly make jurors’ ears perk up.

That being said, her credibility is in question based upon her prior criminal record and past life choices.  I spoke to multiple people in the courtroom during her testimony, and they gave her testimony a grade from lukewarm to good.

3.         I think the defense team doesn’t expect a NOT GUILTY verdict.  They would like one, but such a finding will be even more difficult after the confession testimony from Jennifer Crew.  Keep in mind, in the two previous trials, depending on which version you believe, either 22/24 or 20/24 jurors have voted GUILTY at the end of the day.

My guess is the defense would be tickled pink to have another hung jury.

4.         People ask me whether Ryan Widmer should testify.  The answer:  hell no.  Rest assured that throughout the three trials Ryan has been prepped and coached to testify, just in case.  My guess is that he has done very poorly in these practice examinations.

5.         One of the confusing parts of the Law is reconciling guilt with proof.  It is entirely possible that a person can be guilty of an offense, but the State lacks the ability to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

When would this happen?  All the time.  This morning I drove to the airport with almost no traffic on the road.  A portion of I-71 near downtown Cincinnati has a 55 m.p.h. speed limit.  I sped.  Although I am technically guilty of this offense, without additional evidence the State would never be able to prove my guilt beyond a reasonable doubt (even with my admission!). 

A defendant is presumed innocent of a crime.  The State carries the burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  If that burden is not met, it is a juror’s duty to sign the NOT GUILTY verdict form.  Suspicion or ‘probably did it’ does not suffice.

6.         freeryanwidmer.com was a website created to assist Ryan Widmer in the defense of his case.  This is also the website used by the State’s surprise witness, Jennifer Crew, to get in touch with Ryan.  The only real new evidence in this third trial is her testimony.  If convicted, how ironic would it be that the group formed to raise money for Ryan Widmer assisted in his ultimate conviction?