Thursday, March 29, 2012


The Republican Party is commonly known as the party of the business class whereas the Democratic Party is generally perceived as the political party of "the little guy."

Of course, some say that such stereotyping is just that and that political reality is more of a mix than simply business versus the common man.

That may be, but in the view of the SCPR the Republican caucuses of the Ohio House and Senate in passing House Bill 275 on Tuesday did not help themselves in disabusing stereotypical thinking.

HB 275 is legislation, on its way to Republican Governor John Kasich for his signature, which dramatically tamps down on consumers rights.

On top of Senate Bill 5 (the anti-collective bargaining bill), the passage of HB 275 appears to be more of the same.

The bill according the Legislative Service Commission of the Ohio General Assembly:
  • Permits a supplier to offer a consumer a "cure offer" if the consumer files an action against the supplier for an alleged violation of the Consumer Sales Practices Act. 
  • Requires a cure offer to contain a supplier's remedy consisting solely of monetary compensation to resolve the alleged violation of the Consumer Sales Practices Act, the amount of attorney's fees to be paid, not to exceed $2,500, court costs, 
  • Prohibits a consumer from being awarded treble damages, and court costs and attorney's fees after the cure offer is received, if the consumer does not accept a cure offer and a court or arbitrator awards the consumer actual economic damages that are not greater than the value of the remedy included in the cure offer. 
It is hard to see anything in this legislation which benefits aggrieved consumers.

It will benefit Ohio's court system in likely cutting down on the number of trials.

But it appears to The Report that the bill's structure is primarily designed to save businesses that actually get sued for consumer rights violations the possibility of treble (triple) damages being assessed against them on a liability finding by a court of law.  Moveover, in capping attorney fees at $2,500, it makes consumer cases much less attractive for lawyers to take on.  In this way, it is likely that there will be less suits for violating businesses to cope with.

While local Republican Scott Oelslager (Ohio Senate - 29th) distinguished himself from from the pack in opposing SB 5 (which was soundly rejected [State Issue #2] by Ohio's voters in November, 2011), his SB 5 departure appears to have been an anomaly in the light of his vote for HB 275.

It was no surprise that Stark Republicans Christina Hagan (Marlboro - the 50th) and Kirk Schuring (Jackson - now representing the 51st and running in newly redistricted 48th) followed the party line in joining in on the passage of the bill.

It will be interesting to see whether or not the Democratic opponents to Hagan (Sue Ryan of Alliance) and Schuring (Amanda Trump) in the upcoming fall campaign are able to couple their SB 5 votes with the HB 275 votes and other anti-common-man votes that their opposition research is able to uncover to make Hagan and Schuring wear the stereotypical thinking.

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