Tort Reform Still Working For Ohio Physicians

The Ohio State Medical Association (OSMA) led the charge for tort reform in Ohio more than 10 years ago in an effort to combat the skyrocketing costs of medical malpractice premiums. And Ohio physicians are still reaping the rewards today from our victory at the Ohio Statehouse and at the Ohio Supreme Court. Here’s evidence:

In a recent case, the Second Appellate District Court (Montgomery County) dismissed a plaintiff’s medical malpractice claim on several procedural grounds, including failure to include an affidavit of merit with the complaint.

The Court cited a prior Supreme Court Vase (Fletcher v. University Hospitals of Cleveland) and Civil Rule 10(D)(2), which requires medical malpractice claims to include an affidavit of merit, in its decision to dismiss Smith v. Doshi.

Both Civil Rule 10(D)(2), which was enacted in 2005, and Fletcher v. University Hospitals of Cleveland, which was decided in 2008, are direct results of the OSMA’s advocacy efforts in 2002 and 2003 to eliminate frivolous lawsuits. This most recent case, Smith v. Doshi, affirms that if a plaintiff fails to attach an affidavit of merit in a medical malpractice case, the complaint should be considered incomplete and subject to dismissal, protecting both the courts from considering frivolous lawsuits and maintaining physicians rights.

Meanwhile, the OSMA continues to advocate for further strengthening of the state’s tort reform laws with two pending pieces of legislation at the Statehouse. One measure would clarify the state’s so-called “I’m Sorry” law to make it clearer that an expression of apology or sympathy made by a health care provider towards an injured patient is inadmissible as evidence in a liability case. The other provision seeks to reverse a 1996 Ohio Supreme Court ruling impacting compensation that could potentially be awarded to an injured patient, also known as the “Loss of Chance Theory.”

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