OOA Files Amicus Brief to Support "I'm Sorry Statute"

The OOA joined the Ohio Hospital Association and Ohio State Medical Association, July 30, in filing another amicus brief in the Ohio Supreme Court to support what is commonly referred to as the “I’m Sorry Statute” (ORC 2317.43).

The language was originally enacted as part of HB 215, effective September 2004, and was part of comprehensive tort reform passed by the Ohio General Assembly that year.  It specifically applies to Ohio’s medical community and precludes communications or gestures of empathy or consolidation by doctors to patients or their families from being used to establish liability against the physician. 

In this case, Johnson v. Smith, the trial judge heard testimony of the witnesses outside the presence of the jury to determine whether the statements made by the physician fell within the statute and should be excluded as a result.  Based on the testimony of all the witnesses, the judge determined the doctor’s statements should be excluded. 

The Court of Appeals gave no deference to the trial court’s findings and reversed the jury verdict to allow the “apology testimony” to be presented to the jury.  The amicus brief supports the position that the Court of Appeals erred in its decision and the apology testimony should have been excluded. 

The OOA, OHA and OSMA have filed more than a dozen suits in a "Court Watch Initative" to preserve tort reform.  

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