Columbus Shootings Enter Damage-Limits Debate


A pending Ohio bill would limit civil damages against criminals, says the chairman of the state House Judiciary Committee. “We currently have a very tragic situation in Columbus along the beltway,” said Rep. W. Scott Oelslager, reports the Columbus Dispatch. “The idea that a victim would be victimized again (by caps on damage claims) – I'm sure the public would not want us considering any kind of cap there…something will have to change.”

The committee heard testimony yesterday on a bill to limit civil lawsuits by capping noneconomic and punitive damages for injured Ohioans. The bill sets limits as low as 100,000 on pain-and-suffering and punitive-damage awards. Wrongful death is excluded from the caps, but injury victims would face limits on pain-andsuffering and punitive-damage claims, said Richard Mason of the Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers. “We don't think the legislature wants to protect the interests of criminals, but that's what this bill does,” he said.

Bill sponsor Sen. Steve Stivers, a Columbus Republican, responded that, “It's BS for (Oelslager) to say the sniper would receive protections in the bill. I can tell you the bill creates no protections for anyone. It creates reasonable limits on noneconomic damages.” Stivers would support an amendment to exempt caps on punitive damages for all criminal behavior.


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