United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Western Division
G. CARR SR. U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
a personal-injury case arising from an automobile accident on
I-75 in Wood County, Ohio. (Doc. 4 at ¶¶8-16).
is set to begin on Tuesday, January 9, 2018.
is a motion in limine by plaintiff Ben Looney to exclude all
evidence of “collateral source benefits, workers'
compensation, pensions, and social security benefits.”
(Doc. 30). For the following reasons, I grant the motion in
part and deny it in part.
Ohio law, which controls in this diversity case, a defendant
may not use evidence of payments that a collateral source
(usually an insurance company or a workers-compensation
program) made on the plaintiff's behalf to reduce her
liability for the damages that her negligence proximately
caused. Ginn v. Stonecreek Dental Care, --- N.E.3d
----, 2017-Ohio-4370, ¶18 (Ohio App.); see also
O.R.C. § 2315.20(A).
principle is known as the collateral source rule, and it
“assure[s] that the tortfeasor does not benefit, by way
of a reduced damage award, from payments that the plaintiff
receives from an independent third party.” Caruso
v. Leneghan, 2014-Ohio-1824, ¶15 (Ohio App.).
the defendants may not introduce “evidence of any
amount payable as a benefit to the plaintiff as a result of
the damages that result from” a defendant's
negligence from any “source of collateral benefits
[that] has” a subrogation right. O.R.C. §
trio of cases, however, the Ohio Supreme Court has
considerably cut back the protection that the
collateral-source rule affords.
Robinson v. Bates, 112 Ohio St.3d 17, 23 (2006), the
court held that evidence of the difference between “the
original amount of a medical bill and the amount accepted as
the bill's full payment is not a ‘benefit'
under the collateral-source rule.”
that reason, the court explained, the common-law
collateral-source rule does not prevent defendants from
introducing “evidence of the amount accepted by a
medical care provider from an insurer as full payment for
medical or hospital treatment” to prove the reasonable
value of such treatment. Id. at 18. This is so, even
though the amount accepted to satisfy a medical bill says
more about modern-day insurance practices than, from the
provider's standpoint, the reasonable value, in light of
the treatment the provider deemed necessary to treat the
plaintiff's injuries, of the plaintiff's medical
as one commentator has observed, Robinson's
write-off rule “will likely lead to lower economic
damage awards as a result of the reductive nature of
write-offs. If a jury uses the reduced fees as indicators of
the ‘reasonable and necessary' value of the
treatment, it will drastically lower the plaintiff's
economic damage award[.]” Hanson, Ohio's
Collateral Source Rule Following Robinson v. Bates
and the Enactment of Ohio Revised Code Section
2315.20, 40 U. Tol. L. Rev. 711, 733 (2009).
situation would worsen, moreover, were the defense able to
argue that the jury should view the discounted amount, rather
than the billed amount, as the benchmark for assessing the
nature, extent, and consequences of the plaintiff's
injuries when fixing just compensation for those injuries
(rather than simply as his recovery for medical expenses).
Allowing the defense to do ...