Punitive Damages Case Reaches One Year Mark Without Decision.

Update: On April 2, 2015, the Supreme Court of Ohio handed down a merit decision in this case. Read the analysis here.

Whenever a case has been submitted for a year without a decision, it signals a deep division within the court, an opinion that just won’t write, or a major announcement.   A recent example was Cromer v. Children’s Hosp. Med. Ctr. of Akron, Slip Opinion No. 2015-Ohio-229, argued November 30, 2013, and decided January 27, 2015. That medical negligence case, in which the court held that the foreseeability instruction given should not have been, but was not prejudicial error, fell into the “opinion that just won’t write” category. It was also a case in which the justices were deeply divided, and really ended up not standing for much. (You can read the analysis of the decision here.)

Carlos Sivit, et al., v. Village Green of Beachwood, L.P., et al, 2013-0586 has now passed the one year mark. It was argued March 11, 2014. At issue in this case is whether a landlord can be held liable for faulty wiring in a concealed area and, if so, whether the punitive damage cap applies to any punitive damage award. Part of the complexity is that the appeals court created a kind of hybrid contract-tort action, in an area of law in which such hybrid seemed quite dubious to me (as a torts professor), and which certainly complicated the punitive damages analysis. Read the analysis of the oral argument here.

This punitive damages decision could fall into the major announcements category. I very much look forward to this one, because I teach this subject.

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