Havel v. Villa St. JosephAnnotate this Case
The Eighth District Court of Appeals certified a conflict between its decision in this case and a decision of the Tenth District Court of Appeals on the question of whether Ohio Rev. Code 2315.21(B), as amended by S.B. 80, was unconstitutional, in violation of the Ohio Constitution, because it was a procedural law that conflicted with Ohio R. Civ. P. 42(B). Section 2315.21(B) created a substantive right to bifurcation in tort actions when claims for compensatory and punitive damages had been asserted. The state Court of Appeals held that section 2315.21(B) was unconstitutional because it conflicted with Rule 24(B), in violation of the separation of powers required by the state Constitution, by purporting to "legislate a strictly procedural matter already addressed by the Civil Rules." The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals, holding that section 2315.21(B) creates, defines, and regulates a substantive, enforceable right to separate stages of trial relating to the presentation of evidence for compensatory and punitive damages in tort actions and therefore takes precedence over Rule 42(B) and does not violate the Ohio Constitution, as it is a substantive law that prevails over a procedural rule.