2315.18 Compensatory damages in tort actions - factors excluded - findings or interrogatories.

(A) As used in this section and in section 2315.19 of the Revised Code:

(1) "Asbestos claim" has the same meaning as in section 2307.91 of the Revised Code.

(2) "Economic loss" means any of the following types of pecuniary harm:

(a) All wages, salaries, or other compensation lost as a result of an injury or loss to person or property that is a subject of a tort action;

(b) All expenditures for medical care or treatment, rehabilitation services, or other care, treatment, services, products, or accommodations as a result of an injury or loss to person or property that is a subject of a tort action;

(c) Any other expenditures incurred as a result of an injury or loss to person or property that is a subject of a tort action, other than attorney's fees incurred in connection with that action.

(3) "Medical claim," "dental claim," "optometric claim," and "chiropractic claim" have the same meanings as in section 2305.113 of the Revised Code.

(4) "Noneconomic loss" means nonpecuniary harm that results from an injury or loss to person or property that is a subject of a tort action, including, but not limited to, pain and suffering, loss of society, consortium, companionship, care, assistance, attention, protection, advice, guidance, counsel, instruction, training, or education, disfigurement, mental anguish, and any other intangible loss.

(5) "Occurrence" means all claims resulting from or arising out of any one person's bodily injury.

(6) "Product liability claim" has the same meaning as in section 2307.71 of the Revised Code.

(7) "Tort action" means a civil action for damages for injury or loss to person or property. "Tort action" includes a civil action upon a product liability claim or an asbestos claim. "Tort action" does not include a civil action upon a medical claim, dental claim, optometric claim, or chiropractic claim or a civil action for damages for a breach of contract or another agreement between persons.

(8) "Trier of fact" means the jury or, in a nonjury action, the court.

(B) In a tort action to recover damages for injury or loss to person or property, all of the following apply:

(1) There shall not be any limitation on the amount of compensatory damages that represents the economic loss of the person who is awarded the damages in the tort action.

(2) Except as otherwise provided in division (B)(3) of this section, the amount of compensatory damages that represents damages for noneconomic loss that is recoverable in a tort action under this section to recover damages for injury or loss to person or property shall not exceed the greater of two hundred fifty thousand dollars or an amount that is equal to three times the economic loss, as determined by the trier of fact, of the plaintiff in that tort action to a maximum of three hundred fifty thousand dollars for each plaintiff in that tort action or a maximum of five hundred thousand dollars for each occurrence that is the basis of that tort action.

(3) There shall not be any limitation on the amount of compensatory damages that represents damages for noneconomic loss that is recoverable in a tort action to recover damages for injury or loss to person or property if the noneconomic losses of the plaintiff are for either of the following:

(a) Permanent and substantial physical deformity, loss of use of a limb, or loss of a bodily organ system;

(b) Permanent physical functional injury that permanently prevents the injured person from being able to independently care for self and perform life-sustaining activities.

(C) In determining an award of compensatory damages for noneconomic loss in a tort action, the trier of fact shall not consider any of the following:

(1) Evidence of a defendant's alleged wrongdoing, misconduct, or guilt;

(2) Evidence of the defendant's wealth or financial resources;

(3) All other evidence that is offered for the purpose of punishing the defendant, rather than offered for a compensatory purpose.

(D) If a trial is conducted in a tort action to recover damages for injury or loss to person or property and a plaintiff prevails in that action, the court in a nonjury trial shall make findings of fact, and the jury in a jury trial shall return a general verdict accompanied by answers to interrogatories, that shall specify all of the following:

(1) The total compensatory damages recoverable by the plaintiff;

(2) The portion of the total compensatory damages that represents damages for economic loss;

(3) The portion of the total compensatory damages that represents damages for noneconomic loss.

(E)

(1) After the trier of fact in a tort action to recover damages for injury or loss to person or property complies with division (D) of this section, the court shall enter a judgment in favor of the plaintiff for compensatory damages for economic loss in the amount determined pursuant to division (D)(2) of this section, and, subject to division (F)(1) of this section, the court shall enter a judgment in favor of the plaintiff for compensatory damages for noneconomic loss. Except as provided in division (B)(3) of this section, in no event shall a judgment for compensatory damages for noneconomic loss exceed the maximum recoverable amount that represents damages for noneconomic loss as provided in division (B)(2) of this section. Division (B) of this section shall be applied in a jury trial only after the jury has made its factual findings and determination as to the damages.

(2) Prior to the trial in the tort action described in division (D) of this section, any party may seek summary judgment with respect to the nature of the alleged injury or loss to person or property, seeking a determination of the damages as described in division (B)(2) of this section.

(F)

(1) A court of common pleas has no jurisdiction to enter judgment on an award of compensatory damages for noneconomic loss in excess of the limits set forth in this section.

(2) If the trier of fact is a jury, the court shall not instruct the jury with respect to the limit on compensatory damages for noneconomic loss described in division (B)(2) of this section, and neither counsel for any party nor a witness shall inform the jury or potential jurors of that limit.

(G) With respect to a tort action to which division (B)(2) of this section applies, any excess amount of compensatory damages for noneconomic loss that is greater than the applicable amount specified in division (B)(2) of this section shall not be reallocated to any other tortfeasor beyond the amount of compensatory damages that the tortfeasor would otherwise be responsible for under the laws of this state.

(H) This section does not apply to any of the following:

(1) Tort actions that are brought against the state in the court of claims, including, but not limited to, those actions in which a state university or college is a defendant and to which division (B)(3) of section 3345.40 of the Revised Code applies;

(2) Tort actions that are brought against political subdivisions of this state and that are commenced under or are subject to Chapter 2744. of the Revised Code. Division (C) of section 2744.05 of the Revised Code applies to recoverable damages in those actions.

(3) Wrongful death actions brought pursuant to Chapter 2125. of the Revised Code.

(I) If the provisions regarding the limits on compensatory damages for noneconomic loss set forth in division (B)(2) of this section have been determined to be unconstitutional, then division (C) of this section and section 2315.19 of the Revised Code shall govern the determination of an award of compensatory damages for noneconomic loss in a tort action.

Effective Date: 04-07-2005