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The Luri Decision – One Small Step for Ohio Employers . . .

The Ohio Court of Appeals for the Eighth District (Cuyahoga County) dramatically reduced a $43.1 million punitive damages award to $7 million in the case of Luri v. Republic Services, Inc., Case No. 94908, 2011-Ohio-2389 (May 19, 2011) . At trial, the Luri jury imposed a $46.6 million verdict, including $43.1 million in punitive damages for Luri’s claim of retaliation pursuant to Ohio’s civil rights statute, R.C. Chapter 4112. The appellate court held, however, that a statutory limit on punitive damages applied to Luri’s employment claim. The limitation on punitive damages, a provision of R.C. §2315.21, was enacted in 2005 as part of a comprehensive tort reform bill. There has been much speculation as to whether and to what extent various tort reform provisions will apply in employment cases. While the Ohio Supreme Court has yet to weigh in and many questions remain unanswered, the Luri decision is a welcome victory for Ohio employers. For a more detailed discussion of Luri and what it means, please read our Alert, The sky may not be the limit for an employee-plaintiff.