An increased public awareness of environmental hazards has filled the courts with plaintiffs seeking damages for the potential harm a contaminant may cause. Typically, the principle of damages is a simple one, requiring only that some type of harm or injury has occurred. When no such injury has occurred, plaintiffs still pursue claims under the theory of “stigma damages.” However, the majority of courts have held that stigma damages alone cannot be recovered, and instead, actual physical impact is required before a court will award damages. Ohio courts had previously reached conflicting conclusions on the issue of stigma damages. Recently however, in Chance v. BP Chem., Inc., the Ohio Supreme Court held that it will not permit plaintiffs to rely on allegations of stigma. This case walks through the Chance opinion in Parts II-V. Part VI discusses some other Ohio stigma cases. Parts VII and VIII then look at the potential impacts of the Chance decision on public policy and it’s general reach.
Heidi B. Eisman,
Chance v. BP Chemical, Inc.: Changing Ohio's Perception of Stigma Damages ,
45 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at http://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol45/iss4/7