Ohio Supreme Court Upholds Requirement that Trial Courts Bifurcate Compensatory and Punitive Damage Phases of Trials Upon Motion

in Insurance, Publications

In a February 15, 2012 decision, Havel v. Villa St. Joseph, 2012-Ohio-552, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld a key component of Ohio’s 2005 tort reform. Specifically, that tort reform included a requirement that trial courts bifurcate the punitive damage phase and evidence in a trial from the compensatory damage phase in a trial upon motion of any party. The obvious purpose of that law was to preclude the plaintiff’s attorney from inflaming the passions of the jury, with evidence that went to the issue of punitive damages, when the jury had not yet made a determination as to the plaintiff’s entitlement to compensatory damages. . . 2012 – Ohio Supreme Court Upholds Requirement that Trial Courts Bifurcate Compensatory and Punitive Damage Phases of Trials Upon Motion