Applicability of Ohio’s Statutory Cap On Non-Economic Damages To Claims Based On Injuries Sustained Before Its Effective Date Musgrave v. Breg, Inc.
In a recent case before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Musgrave v. Breg, Inc., No. 2:09-cv-01029, the court was asked to decide whether Ohio’s statutory cap on non-economic damages in tort actions should apply to a claim based on an injury that occurred before the statute became effective on April 7, 2005. Although other courts have dealt with the retroactive application of the cap on noneconomic damages, it would appear that Musgrave is the first time that a court has dealt with the application of the statute when the plaintiff’s cause of action accrued at some date later than the date of injury.
The issue in Musgrave centered on the cap on non-economic damages that Ohio enacted nearly seven years ago as part of a tort reform effort. Under Ohio Revised Code § 2315.18(B)(2), non-economic damages in tort actions are limited, with some exceptions, to the greater of $250,000 or three times the economic loss to a maximum of $350,000 per plaintiff or $500,000 for each occurrence that is the basis of the tort action. The statute became effective on April 7, 2005.