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Monday, May 20, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Court OK’s Award Cap in Ballpark Explosion Suit

(CN) - Two men who were falsely accused on setting off a bomb at a Cleveland Indians game did not lose their constitutional rights when the trial court limited their damage award to $250,000, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled.

Clifton Oliver and Donald Krieger were arrested after four people were hurt in the explosion at Jacobs Field (now known as Progressive Field).

Oliver and Krieger were exposed to poor conditions in the jail and harsh treatment from the jailers. After their release, their health and job standing suffered as a result of the arrest.

A third defendant, Andrew Mendez, was convicted of causing the explosion.

Oliver and Krieger sued the city of Cleveland for malicious prosecution. The jury awarded them $1 million each: $400,000 in compensatory damages and $600,000 in punitive damages.

The trial court tossed out the punitive damages as impermissible against the city and reduced the compensatory award to $250,000 each, which is the limit under the statute.

The court of appeals ruled that the defendants' rights to a jury trial were violated by the damage caps, but the state high court reversed the decision.

"A court does not intrude into the jury's fact-finding when applying (the law); instead, the court applies the limit as a matter of law to the facts found by the jury," Justice Moyer wrote.

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