Ralph Nader, the famous 79-year old consumer advocate, plans to open an American Museum of Tort Law. According to the Washinton Post, Nader got the idea from trial lawyers who were looking for a home for their trial exhibits. The article indicates that "[t]he museum will detail the history of tort law and host exhibits on significant cases such as the 1998 national settlement with tobacco companies. Nader said it may also host artifacts including a Chevrolet Corvair — the car featured in his 1965 book on the auto industry’s safety record, “Unsafe at Any Speed,” which made him a household name." Apparently, Mr. Nader has already raised $2 million for the project and hired a museum design firm to begin renovating a bank building in downtown Winsted, Conn. The plan is to finish the museum within the next 2 years.
A woman who used Google Maps to mark a walking route is suing Google for injuries she sustained in an accident. The Utah woman claims that the route took her along a highway, where she was hit by a car. An article about the suit claims Google Maps' directions marked the route as hazardous, but this warning may not have been visible on the BlackBerry she used. Her suit has been filed in Utah District Court and seeks damages of over $100,000.00.
The recent issue of OBAR reports that the Ohio State Bar Association has puslished new jury instructions on Casemaker, including those covering Ohio ethics law conflicts of interest (O.R.C. sec. 102.03(E), common law defenses-duress, diminution of value, breach of confidentiality, breach of confidentiality of medical records to a third party, compromise verdicts, and complete instructions for a basic personal injury case. The OSBA has also partnered with the Ohio Judicial Conference to create a new OJI Chapter 349 on Privacy, that will include instructions on 1) invasion of privacy, publication of private facts; 2) invasion of privacy, common law; 3) invasion of privacy, appropriation of name or likeness; 4) invasion of privacy, intrusion into private affairs; and 5) invasion of privacy, false light.
According to a Press Release from Friday, the Ohio Attorney General has dismissed the lead paint lawsuit former AG Marc Dann filed in Franklin County CP Court in April of 2007. The Press Release indicates that instead of a lawsuit, the new AG intends to seek public/private partnerships to try and remedy problems created by lead paint exposure. Click here to read our prior post about a 2007 Ohio Supreme Court opinion declining to hear a case involving several paint manufacturers.
A recent decision from the Rhode Island Supreme Court held that Sherwin-Williams and other paint manfuacturers were not liable for cleaning up lead paint contamination in thousands of homes. Even though lead paint has been linked to health problems, especially in children, and lead paint was banned in the late1970's, the Court's opinion concluded that S-W and others could not be held liable once paint was out of their control and used in the homes. A Columbus Dispatch article chronicles like suits that are still pending in Ohio and relates the debate over the impact of the Rhode Island decision. While some lawyers apparently fear that the S-W case sounds the death knell for their cases, others claim that a good case can still be made against lead paint manufacturers under Ohio nuisance law. Click here to read an article from the Cleveland Plain Dealer online.
On the heels of a $700,000 judgment against a mom who chaperoned her daughter's cheerleading trip to Hawaii, you have to ask yourself if you still want to chaperone your kids' school trips. Even though newsnet5.com reported that a student named Lauren Crossan who died on the trip was 18 years old, and therefore legally an adult, when she fell from a hotel balcony, an arbitrator found that the chaperone was partly liable for the girl's death. Newsnet5.com reports that the girl was seen drinking before she fell, but it is unclear whether the chaperone saw the girl imbibing before her fatal accident. Even for homeowners who have insurance that might cover such liability, is it a risk you are willing to take if something goes awry on one of your kids' trips?
The Ohio Supreme Court has just issued a press release that the Court has upheld 2 tort reform statutes. In Arbino v. Johnson & Johnson, 2007-Ohio-6948, the Court held that 2 recent Ohio tort reform statutes do not violate the constitutional rights of personal injury plaintiffs. Specifically, the Court held that caps on non-economic damages and punitives do not violate: 1) constitutional rights to trial by jury; 2) due process; 3) equal protection; and 4) Ohio constitional provisions that guarantee open courts and separation of powers. Both caps were enacted as part of S.B. 80 (passed in 2004 and effective in 2005), which placed the caps in O.R.C. 2315.18 and O.R.C. 2315.21, respectively.
On October 3, 2007, the Ohio Supreme Courtannounced its decision in Terry v. Caputo (Case No. 2006-0705). The Supreme Court summary indicates that the Court "held that in order to establish a prima facie claim that a medical condition was the result of exposure to a toxic substance, the plaintiff in a civil lawsuit must establish by means of expert testimony (1) that the toxin is capable of causing the medical condition (general causation); and (2) that the toxic substance in fact caused the claimant's condition (specific causation)." This case involved a suit by 15 employees who sued their employer, the Ottawa County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Delay (MRDD), alleging that they were exposed to mold and other irritants at work that caused them a large number of medical problems. Their respiratory expert tied their conditions to their work environment.
Today, the Ohio Supreme Courtaccounced a decision in Froehlich v. Ohio Dept. of Mental Health, clarifying when the statute of limitations begins to run on a claim for malicious prosecution. In a 6-1 decision, the Court held that the one-year statute of limitations contained in ORC 2305.11(A) began to run on the date a grand jury declined to indict the accused, who was a nurse at a psychiatric hospital. The nurse had argued that her time to sue should be extended through the conclusion of post-grand jury discussions by the prosecutor about additional potential charges. In his lone dissent, Justice Pfeifer indicated that the statute of limitations should not begin to run until there is a final disposition that the accused is innocent, which he further stated a "no bill" does not assure.