The Ohio Osteopathic Association and six other state and national associations have filed an amicus curiae brief urging the Ohio Supreme Court to uphold Ohio’s current four year statute of repose for medical claims.
The brief, filed, December 12, was prepared in response to a decision by the Twelfth Circuit Court in Ruther vs. Kaiser, which declared Ohio’s current statute unconstitutional. Other associations participating in the action include the Ohio Hospital Association (OHA), the Ohio State Medical Association (OSMA), the American Osteopathic Association, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, and the Ohio Alliance for Civil Justice.
Ohio's medical malpractice law changed substantially with the passage of S.B. 281 in 2001. Prior to enactment, the state was facing a professional liability crisis with numerous carriers leaving the state and others rapidly escalating premiums to protect against losses. If the Supreme Court fails to overturn the Appellate Court’s ruling, Ohio would become one of the only jurisdictions in the United States to impose never-ending uncertainty upon physicians and hospitals.
“By enacting the statue of repose for medical negligence claims, the General Assembly sought to strike a balance between the rights of prospective tort claimants and the rights of Ohio physicians and hospitals,” the brief asserts. “But the Twelfth District’s decision disregards this reasoning and makes Ohio one of only two states that have held that a statute of repose for medical claims violates a constitutional right to remedy.”
The OHA, OOA, and OSMA have been monitoring court cases since SB 281 was passed to ward off challenges which threaten to undermine the law. So far, the associations have made about a half a dozen amicus appearances before the Ohio Supreme Court, which has ruled to support SB 281’s provisions in most instances. Click here to see a copy of the brief: Ruther v. Kaiser.