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Ohio Supreme Court upholds damage limits

By Chris Rizo | Oct 1, 2009

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline)-An Ohio law that limits damages that local government must pay injured parties is constitutional, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

In sum, the high court found that the state's sovereign immunity statute, which caps noneconomic damages a municipality must pay at $250,000, is legal.

The case comes after Donald Krieger and Clifton Oliver sued the city of Cleveland for malicious prosecution after they were arrested during a June 2002 Cleveland Indians baseball game.

Krieger and Oliver were taken into custody and charged with three counts of aggravated arson and felonious assault after an explosive device was dropped from the upper deck of Jacobs Field and exploded, injuring four people.

The charges were later dismissed, but the two spent four days in jail. They sued and a jury awarded them each $400,000 for compensatory damages and $600,000 in punitive damages.

The punitive damages award was rejected at the trial court because of the state's sovereign immunity statute.

The Ohio 8th District Court of Appeals upheld the $400,000 awards. The city of Cleveland appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court.

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