The catastrophe caused by the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico continues to spread oil and wreak havoc on the gulf waters of Louisiana, destroying lives and livelihoods of countless families, businesses and industries in Louisiana. And the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 limits the oil spill damage liability of BP for this destruction to $75 million for the entire incident.
But thankfully there are exceptions to this oil spill damages’ cap. One such exception is that those whose lives have been destroyed can pursue compensation for their harm under state law. Louisiana citizens are allowed to seek damage compensation under state law for the full value of their loss, as Louisiana has no damage cap in civil actions.
But what if Louisiana citizens had to seek compensation for their loss under Ohio law as it currently stands?
Ohio law does have damage caps in civil tort cases: the maximum amount of money that a person harmed through another’s wrongdoing can receive is capped at $350,000 for all intangible loss, regardless of the loss.
So if Ohio law were applied, how much in intangible damage compensation could go to a sole proprietor of a Louisiana shrimp boat business for the evaporation of his livelihood, his life on the water, belonging to him and his family built around the business, his pride, accomplishments, joy, fulfillment, not to mention any potential ill effects from contact or exposure to petroleum-laden water, petroleum-laden mist and vapor in the air?
He would get a grand total of $350,000 plus the net financial value of his business for the life that he lived and loved, and that is now destroyed.
Same for all other Louisiana citizens who are:
Fishermen in the Gulf
People in Louisiana’s Gulf Tourism industry
Gulf Boat Operators and Tour Guides
The list goes on and on.
Makes one glad for these Louisiana citizens that they don’t have to seek redress for their harm under Ohio law, doesn’t it?
It’s this simple: If someone or some company by their carelessness is going to gamble with your life, then they should have to pay the full value if they destroy your life, period.