Attorney John Fitch has taken on the cases of two women who were raped. One was 15 years old when raped, and the other was 11. The juries awarded $3.5 million and $20 million, respectively, in the two cases for the trauma these women suffered and still suffer. But state law caps the damages a plaintiff can recover in a personal injury action, and the very few exceptions that allow the caps to be lifted don’t cover rape. As a result, the damages for each woman were reduced to $250,000, and from that sum, attorney fees and litigation expenses are deducted.
Fitch talks about the unfairness of the so called “tort reform” law that passed in 2005 and how the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled the law is constitutional. “Tort reform” is a misnomer, as the law does only one thing: it undercuts the rights of people who are injured. There are powerful forces behind tort reform, namely business interests and insurance companies.
Rep. Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) has introduced a bill that would remove at least some of the unfairness in the law. But it’s an uphill battle.