Ohio Supreme Court Accepts Jurisdiction on Punitive Damages and Prevention of Performance Issues


OMA Connections Partner, Frantz Ward, posted that on July 27, 2016, the Ohio Supreme Court accepted for review an appeal filed by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company from a Seventh District Court of Appeals decision that it contends “fundamentally alters the law of contracts, fraud, and punitive damages in Ohio, affecting nearly every business transaction in the state.” The underlying case transpired following the end of a business relationship between Nationwide and a former agent.  Nationwide urged the Ohio Supreme Court to review the case to decide several fundamental issues about business transactions raised in the appellate court decision. OMA was one of several organizations that filed an amicus curiae brief urging the Ohio Supreme Court to accept jurisdiction. Per Franz Ward:  “Having accepted jurisdiction, the Ohio Supreme Court now must grapple with the availability of punitive damages in the context of a breach of contract claim and application of the prevention of performance doctrine to signed legal releases. Depending on the outcome, the allocation of business and contract risks throughout Ohio could drastically change.”