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Legal Advocacy

OSMA's Legal Services Group manages the OSMA's legal advocacy program. For more information contact the OSMA Knowledge Center at or (800) 766-6762. Additional information can be found at the AMA Litigation Center

Amicus Briefs

The OSMA regularly participates as an amicus party in selected state and federal appellate court cases, often at the request of the plaintiff or defendant or another interested party. The Legal Services Group uses the following criteria to determine whether the OSMA will participate in a particular matter:
  • Membership status of the affected physicians
  • The case has broad policy implications for physicians or their patients
  • The case supports or contravenes OSMA policy
  • Availability of resources, including the expected cost of participating in the litigation
Access Ohio Supreme Court filings online, including OSMA amicus briefs, and case decisions.

Court Watch

The OSMA has aggressively pursued medical liability reform legislation with the goal of developing solutions to the high cost of medical liability premiums in Ohio. For example, Ohio limits non–economic damages that a plaintiff can recover at $350,000. However, we know from past experiences with tort reform in Ohio, these successes can be reversed or modified by court decisions. Thus, we proactively monitor legal decisions made by Ohio's trial and appellate courts that will affect medical liability reform successes. The OSMA monitors case activity in several ways:
  1. Ohio Revised Code Sec. 2721.12 requires that plaintiffs give notice to the State Attorney General of any declaratory judgments being sought pertaining to the constitutionality of an ordinance or statute. (This statute does not apply if a declaratory judgment is not specifically sought.) If a plaintiff seeks a declaratory judgment to overturn medical liability reforms, the OSMA is able to learn about this action through the Ohio Attorney General.
  2. We work with medical liability defense lawyers and medical liability insurers to identify cases with significant potential to evolve into constitutional challenges to Ohio's tort reforms as well as cases that seek to expand liability or otherwise disadvantage physicians in defending medical liability claims.
  3. Physicians may submit cases to the OSMA for review and possible participation as an amicus in a particular case. This means that the OSMA files an "amicus brief," or friend of the court brief urging the court to issue a ruling that advances the legal policy position(s) the OSMA favors. The OSMA may, in turn, seek the participation of the AMA Litigation Center in appropriate matters.


The OSMA joined with other business interests to urge the Ohio Supreme Court to uphold the constitutionality of Ohio's commercial activity tax as a permitted franchise tax on gross receipts of food sales. The Court issued a favorable decision on September 17, 2009 upholding the constitutionality of the tax. Physicians supported the commercial activity tax as adopted by the General Assembly and had an interest in seeing the tax upheld so that it would continue to apply broadly to all types of businesses at a uniformly low tax rate.
The OSMA, AMA Litigation Center and American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology filed an amicus curiae brief urging the Ohio Supreme Court to hold that parties in a private lawsuit are not entitled to discover or have access to confidential medical records of individuals who are not a party to the litigation. The Court agreed with this position.
As an amicus participant in Jacques v. Manton, the OSMA is pleased with the recent Ohio Supreme Court ruling that will allow jurors to hear evidence of write-offs related to medical expenses in personal injury cases. The Court held that write-offs, the difference between billed charges and the amount actually accepted as payment in full for medical services, are not collateral sources under Ohio law and can be admitted into evidence consistent with the law as stated in a prior Court holding. The decision ensures that juries will hear accurate evidence of the amount of money actually spent or paid out for medical expenses in personal injury cases.

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