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Victim of Nursing Home Abuse Dealt Blow by Ohio Supreme Court

Nursing home abuse, unfortunatley, occurs all too often in Ohio and around the Country. It is a sad, but true, fact that many residents of nursing homes are terribly abused by the very folks that they or their family paid and trusted to care for them. Some times, the abuse is so horrible that the nursing home should not only be held accountable for the harm it caused, it should also be punished for it misconduct. Punitive damages are intended to punish a wrongdoer for especially bad conduct and to set an example for others. Unfortunately, on February 15, 2012, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled, in Havel v. Villa St. Joseph, that, despite the fact that the Ohio Constitution states that the Ohio Supreme is the only body with the power to determine all rules regarding court procedure, and despite the fact the Court had enacted a rule regarding bifurcation, the Ohio legislature may also do so. Accordingly, although the Ohio Supreme Court enacted Civil Rule 42 back in 1970, which procedural rule gives the trial judge the discretionary power to decide whether to bifurcate a trial (bifurcation means that different issues in a case are decided in separate trials) the nursing home and insurance industries successfully lobbied the Ohio legislature to enact a statute that requires trial judges to bifurcate claims for punitive damages and to conduct a separate trial on such claims. So, the victims of nursing home abuse, who have already suffered more than enough, will now be forced to sue the nursing home twice, and incur additional costs and fees, in order to attain justice and hold the nursing home fully accountable for its misdeeds. If you believe that you or a loved one has been injured by nursing home neglect, you need to contact an experienced trial lawyer as soon as possible.

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