CCL joined with the Fitch Law Firm on a reply brief that argued that a state statutory limit on damages should not apply to a young teenager's case against a man who raped her 34 times.

      The case, Brandt v. Pompa, involves a defendant convicted of repeated rapes of young girls, where his own daughter would invite them for a sleepover during which they would be drugged and raped. A jury hearing the civil case returned a verdict of $20 million in compensatory damages for the now-26-year-old plaintiff, who was traumatized and went homeless for a period while trying to recover from the emotional toll she suffered. Under a state law, however, that $20 million verdict was reduced to $250,000 under a state tort reform law. The plaintiff challenged the law's constitutionality, both as applied and on its face.

      Represented by a large law firm, the defendant argued that the case was moot because the defendant could never pay the verdict and that the law serves compelling state interests identified by the Ohio General Assembly that should receive deference from the state Supreme Court. Those arguments were echoed in briefs filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business interests. The Ohio Attorney General also filed an amicus brief in support of the law, indicating that a change, which he supported, should be enacted by the legislature to assure that the law does not reach this situation, but that the courts have no business making that determination.

      In reply, the plaintiff's brief explained that collectibility is not a consideration in determining mootness, which could have been raised at the trial level, if it were a valid basis for avoiding a decision. It further explained that applying the damage limit to this case served no valid state purpose, as there is no interest in protecting rapists from valid judgments, no economic interest that serves the State in applying the cap here, and no basis for claiming that stability in the justice system is enhanced by capping these damages.

       Oral argument in the case is likely to be scheduled in the Spring.