For more than a decade a war has been waged between forces seeking legislative reform of tort law, with emphasis on product liability, and the Ohio Supreme Court. The battleground has been the legislative enactments of the Ohio General Assembly. This legislation has faced consistent challenge before the court as a proper exercise of its power of judicial review. This article discusses the two primary cases in which the court has won its war with the legislature by replacing the legislative words and intent with judicial interpretations. Part II begins the discussion with a look at the Carrel v. Allied Products Corp case and the court’s handling of the Ohio Product Liability Act. Then Part III turns to look at Collins v. Sotka and wrongful death actions. The article concludes by suggesting that State ex rel. Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers presents the court with an opportunity to strike a proper balance between deference to the General Assembly, the need to protect both innocent consumers and innocent product manufacturers or sellers, the Constitution of the State of Ohio, and the appropriate role of judicial review.
Stephen J. Werber,
Ohio Tort Reform in 1998: The War Continues ,
45 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at https://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol45/iss4/4