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Ohio lawsuit curbs OKd

Despite peals of outrage from opponents, Ohio's legislature has passed two significant lawsuit reform measures in the waning days of its session. One would prohibit the use of municipal public-nuisance theories against former makers of lead paint, as pursued in lawsuits under the tutelage of Motley Rice; the bill would not restrict more conventional (and less promising) product-liability theories. Acting in what it said was response, the city of Columbus has filed its own suit against lead paint companies, joining Toledo, East Cleveland and Lancaster (h/t Genova). (P.S. The measure is not retroactive, so lawsuits already filed on the bill's effective date would not be dismissed.) The second bill would limit, to $5,000, the damages for non-economic damages consumers could receive under the state's unfair-practices statute; the availability of economic damages would be unaffected. The Ohio Supreme Court recently alarmed business defendants by ruling that non-economic damages were available under the act. Incumbent Republican Gov. Taft is considering whether to sign the legislation; lawmakers acknowledged that his successor, incoming Democrat Ted Strickland, would be less likely to view the measures favorably.

Update: Cincinnati and Canton have now filed suits as well.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.