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Reps. Boggs, Russo introduce legislation to remove cap on damages in certain tort cases

HB 518 will require Ohio to remove the cap on damages awarded to victims of violent crimes
February 21, 2020
C. Allison Russo News

State Reps. Kristin Boggs (D- Columbus) and Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) recently introduced HB 518 to prevent victims of rape from being denied full compensation of their damages awarded by a jury. The need for this legislation became apparent after Jessica Simpkins, who was a teenager when she was raped by her pastor, was awarded $3.6 million in non-economic damages by a jury only to have the amount reduced to $500,000 under a 2005 tort reform law.

In his dissent Justice Pfeifer stated, “It turns out that ‘tort reform’ (and the justices who sanctioned it) also ensured that rapists and those who enable them will not have to pay the full measure of damages they cause — even if they rape a child.”

“It’s abhorrent that any child victim of rape would be stricken of their damages awarded by a jury because of law treats them as if they suffered an accident and not a deliberate act of violence,” stated Rep. Boggs. “The law should distinguish between damages resulting from negligence and those resulting from someone’s choice to perpetrate a crime or cover up a criminal act.”

“This is a crucial piece of legislation that helps survivors of violent crimes receive the full measure of compensation awarded to them by the jury,” said Rep. Russo.  “By not providing them the full amount of the damages awarded, we are protecting those that perpetrate or help perpetrate crimes, while preventing survivors from receiving full redress, as well as the means necessary for them to overcome the damages done to them.”