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A Former Buckeye Laments Yet Another Pro-Business Supreme Court

12/28/2007
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I am a former Buckeye and I guess things have not changed a lot since I left in the mid-eighties. Then, as now, the Supreme Court prtected Big Business, while sacrificing the rights of individual citizens and, well, here they go again!

The Columbus Dispatch reports that in a 5 to 2 ruling the “justices” upheld caps on non-economic damages. The law limits the amounts injured victims can collect for “human damages” to a maximum of $350,000.

The case at issue involved a law suit filed by an Ohio citizen against Johnson & Johnson, a New Jersey citizen. Apparently, in Ohio, it is deemed acceptable for Big Business “foreigners” to make profits by selling their wares to Ohio citizens and then enjoy the limits on damages they cause to injured victims who are residents of Ohio.

State Senator Steve Stivers was the chief sponsor of the legislation to limit free access to the Ohio court system to its citizens. Ty Pine, the voice of Big Business in Ohio, also is happy about the verdict:

“For the first time, Ohio businesses and citizens can enjoy the finality of this debate,” Pine said. “As we begin in Ohio to move toward more reasonableness in terms of awards in these types of cases, we will hopefully be able to enjoy lower insurance rates.”

Ty is also quoted as saying that this decision should “assure businesses that they won’t be hammered with enormous verdicts”. Very nice for Big Business; very tragic for the average Ohio citizen. Now Big Business will be better able to do the “Pinto computations” and decide whether it makes sense to recall a dangerous product or let people continue to be injured. For the unfamiliar, the story goes that when Ford Pintos began exploding and killing people, the executives at Ford “crunched the numbers” and decided that fixing the problem would cost alot more than just dealing with the lawsuits. So, Ford did not recall the Pinto and people were injured. Now, though, any of Big Business who has a product in Ohio, can feel a level of comfort that they can properly calculate profits over safety.

Insurance companies also are big winners in Ohio. They will never lower rates, but they will now be able to limit their exposures and maximize their profits. They must also be very fond of the Ohio Supreme Court now.

So who loses? Every citizen in the State of Ohio. Whether an injured victim or not, all Buckeyes are losers. The Ohio Supreme Court has effectively said that citizens of Ohio matter less than Big Business and Big Insurance. They have said to Buckeyes that justice and trial by jury are less important in the great State of Ohio than profits for Big Business.

The Ohio Supreme Court has effectively declared open season on Ohio citizens and opened the door wide to Big Business placing profits before safety.

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