Now that’s saying something

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law released a study of the records of two Ohio Supreme Court Justices – Justices French and Kennedy – who are both running for re-election this year.  The study found that Justice French voted with her top campaign contributors over 91% of the time, and that Justice Kennedy voted with her contributors 88% of the time.  This study is really remarkable for a couple of reasons.

court gavel on U.S. Twenty dollar bills

First, money in politics matters.  We don’t want our government sold to the highest bidder.  Second, the 1851 Center is affiliated with the tea party movement.  One of their main issues is limited government.  The fact they they, of all groups, are critical of two of the conservatives on the Court says something.

What does this mean to you:

If you are interested in Justices who aren’t influenced by campaign contributions or are interested limiting government, this study suggests, these aren’t the Justices you’re looking for.

Injured workers in Ohio dealt a legal blow

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled today that if an employer removes a safety device, like guard on a press, and someone is injured while working there, like losing losing their fingers or hand, they cannot hold their boss responsible for their injuries unless they PROVE that their boss meant to hurt them.

Yellow hardhat

The idea in someone’s head and what they were intending to do is an extremely difficult, if not impossible, thing to prove.  Today’s ruling is an unfortunate extension of an earlier decision from the Court.

What does this mean to you:

Someone injured or killed on the job is not always left out in the cold. If a person or company other than your employer was at fault – such as a sub-contractor doing work at an industrial job site or construction site, the manufacturer of a defective product, or any other third party – they may be entitled to make a claim, even though the injury happened while on the job.  A major part of any case brought by a lawyer or law firm is investigating all potentially-liable parties.  Workers comp may also be available, but by no means makes the person whole.

 

So that’s why that happened

FSBD has discussed some of the rulings of the Ohio Supreme Court – including those that  stated products are never defective after 10 years, or limiting the amounts juries can give against the worst of the worst, or providing excuses for drivers who break the law and kill other drivers.  These rulings seem to defy common sense.  Why do they come out this way?

Thwack!

There has been a rash of articles recently focusing on the impact of campaign contributions to Judges, especially in Ohio.  Massive amounts of corporate money have been flowing in to judicial elections over the last decade.  No surprise, then, that state supreme court decisions tend to favor insurance companies and corporations over individuals.  You may have even see that two of the Justices on the Ohio Supreme Court are currently in hot water over campaign contributions they received at the same time they were hearing a case involving the contributors.

What does this mean to you:

Take the time to learn about judicial races.  Talk to your lawyer about what the candidates for judge stand for.  The decisions they make truly do affect all of us.

UPDATE:

I just saw this story today about a supreme court race in Illinois.  Perhaps it is time to embrace public financing for judicial campaigns.

Well that’s good to know

Did you know that 10 years after a product is made, it is no longer dangerous in Ohio?  Few!  What a relief!  I feel much safer now.

Is this some miraculous feat of magic that automatically renders products safe – anything from an industrial punch press in a factory to the toaster in your kitchen – after the specified time of 10 years?

On the contrary, it is merely a feat of legal maneuvering.  The General Assembly passed a law a while back called a statute of repose.  Statutes of repose start the clock ticking for when you can bring a case when the product is made, whether or not you even know of the defect yet.  These are different from statutes of limitations, which only start the clock running once you have been injured or at least know that something is wrong.  Because statutes of repose can cut off your right to bring a case before you even know you have a case, the Ohio Supreme Court struck down the law as unconstitutional.

But, suprisingly, when the General Assembly again passed the same law in 2005, this time the Ohio Supreme Court upheld the statute of repose!  This does nothing to make products safer, protect Ohioans, or encourage manufacturers to design safer products.  In fact, statutes of repose create an incentive to only make products safe for the first 10 years.  After that, no matter how dangerous the design and no matter how bad the manufacture was, the manufacturer is not responsible for any harm caused by their product in Ohio.

So much for extended warranties!

What does this mean to you?

Product liability cases often involve lengthy investigation.  The sooner a lawyer can research the product, the more likely the case will yield a successful result.