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Ohio Supreme Court to weigh caps on damages in child rape cases

The high court this week set a March 30 date to hear arguments that such limits are unconstitutional when they involve underage victims of sexual assault.
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COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Supreme Court plans to hear arguments for and against the constitutionality of caps on pain-and-suffering awards in lawsuits brought by child rape victims.

A case before the court involves a Cuyahoga County judge’s 2020 decision to cut a portion of a $20 million jury verdict to $250,000 for a woman repeatedly raped as a child, based on a 2005 law meant to limit the size of awards in lawsuits.

Five years ago, the state Supreme Court cited that same law, sometimes known as tort reform, when it threw out a $3.6 million jury award to a woman raped by her pastor at age 15. The court reduced the award to about $385,000 based on the 2005 law.

The high court this week set a March 30 date to hear arguments that such limits are unconstitutional when they involve underage victims of sexual assault. The court is also hearing an overall challenge to the caps on damages created by the 2005 law.

In addition, House Democrats have urged that hearings be held on a bill targeting the issue that would lift caps on pain-and-suffering awards for child rape victims.

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