On November 27, 2013, the Eighth District Court of Appeals issued a decision in an asbestos exposure case that has far reaching ramifications for defendants in civil lawsuits in Cuyahoga County. The case was handled by McMahon DeGulis LLP attorneys Evan J. Palik and Stephen H. Daniels.
The Eighth District Court of Appeals decision affirmed the trial court's ruling that permitted a jury to apportion a percentage of fault to non-party employers, even though the employers were entitled to workers compensation immunity.
In Fisher v. Beazer East, Inc., 8th Dist. No. 99662, Mr. Palik and Mr. Daniels successfully argued that Ohio's apportionment statute, RC 2307.23, permits juries to consider the fault of all entities, including employers, provided it can be shown that the entities' tortious conduct contributed to the plaintiff's harm. The Eighth District held the statute "requires a jury to consider the percentage of tortious conduct attributable to each person who proximately caused the injury or loss, regardless of whether the plaintiff is seeking recovery or able to seek recovery from that person."
The effect of this decision is that Cuyahoga County defendants at trial will be severally liable only for their share of the fault assigned to them by the jury, but not for the fault of any other entity, including entities from which the plaintiff cannot recover. This result is especially significant because the Fifth District Court of Appeals has previously held that the jury could not consider the fault of plaintiff's or decedent's employer.
This victory is the latest in a long series of successful trial and appellate results obtained by McMahon DeGulis LLP in the defense of its clients in asbestos and toxic tort cases in both state and federal courts in Ohio.