Cleveland State Law Review
tort reform, Ohio law, wrongful death, product design
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. Time and time again the court's philosophical approach, predicated on a need to protect injured parties and guarantee compensation for harm, has led to determinations that given legislation fails constitutional scrutiny. In a real sense, the Court has become a super legislature comprised of a somewhat consistent four member majority. State ex rel. Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers v. Sheward foreshadows what may be the ultimate battle. The result of that battle could end the war. That end will be the unconditional surrender of tort reform advocates. Absent a significant change in the composition of the court, future efforts at tort reform which in any way impede the right of recovery will be preordained to an early demise.
Stephen J. Werber, Ohio Tort Reform in 1998: The War Continues, 45 Cleveland State Law Review 539 (1997)