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Critics: New Liability Caps Are No Deterrent for Unethical Businesses

August 6, 2007

After a rocky road, a law limiting damages in consumer liability lawsuits is now in effect in Ohio. The State Supreme Court voided the veto issued by Gov. Strickland on his first day on the job. Bill Faith with the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio says it's ironic that the law comes into effect in the midst of Ohio's foreclosure crisis, which resulted in part from unethical business practices covered under the law.

"The number one source of those is from sub-prime mortgage loans, many of which were originated with predatory lending."

Supporters say the caps are needed to protect businesses from nuisance lawsuits. Faith would like lawmakers to revisit the issue and pass standards that would be more of a deterrent to unethical companies. The law would also block liability lawsuits for lead paint clean-up.

Faith notes that with the liability cap of $5,000 on non-economic damages, unethical companies can violate the state's consumer protection laws, knowing that it won't cost them much if they're caught.

"This is a setback for Ohio's consumers, and it's a gift to violators of the consumer sales practices act in our state."

Rob Ferrett/Eric Mack, Public News Service - OH