At the Ohio Association for Justice, the integrity of the civil justice system is our top priority. Here is some useful information about the civil justice system, how it works, and how our organization and member attorneys fit into it.


The Ohio Association for Justice's mission is to protect and promote Ohioans' right to a fair and impartial civil justice system, including their constitutional right to trial by jury, through advocacy, education and training.





The civil justice system is a critical and historic component of our country's democracy and economy. It is the mechanism in which people who have been wronged can file lawsuits and, through a jury of their peers, hold wrongdoers accountable for their actions. The Founding Fathers of our country viewed this right as so fundamental that it was included as the Seventh Amendment to the Bill of Rights.

The Seventh Amendment
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Ohio Constitution Article I, § 05
The right of trial by jury shall be inviolate, except that, in civil cases, laws may be passed to authorize the rendering of a verdict by the concurrence of not less than three-fourths of the jury.


The civil justice system provides a framework that allows two parties to establish accountability, which keeps government nimble and manageable.  
The civil justice system embraces, at its core, personal responsibility.
When the civil justice system recovers compensation, the government is able to reimburse its programs like Medicaid, Medicare, and Bureau of Workers’ Compensation for any damages (e.g. healthcare bills) it may have had to cover, shifting the financial burden from you the taxpayer to the wrongdoer.
Plaintiff's attorneys only receive compensation if the verdict is found in favor of their client. Attorneys have no incentive to take on cases of little merit. In the end, citizens are the ones who lose when bureaucratic regulations increase the risk, cost, and time associated with seeking justice.


People sometimes hear about "frivolous lawsuits." In reality, frivolous lawsuits have been banned in Ohio since 2001. In order for a wrongdoing to be brought forth to the civil justice system, it must meet all of the following criteria: Duty, Breach, Causation and Damages, which are outlined in the two examples below.

DUTY Citizens have a duty to drive safely. Everyone understands that when you’re driving, you’re in control of your car. Companies have a duty to provide safe products to their customers. This includes serving food that will not make people sick.
BREACH Sally went left of center, therefore breaching her duty to be safe and infringing on Jennifer and her son’s right to safety by hitting their car. They had an expectation that Sally would drive safely and she didn’t. Bob’s Burgers served contaminated food and caused its customers to get sick. Several were hospitalized with salmonella.
CAUSATION Phone records show Sally sent a text message seconds before crashing her car, and crash reconstruction forensics revealed she was driving 15 miles an hour over the speed limit. This evidence proves Sally caused the crash. Bob’s Burgers had no policy or instructions for cleaning lettuce used on their burgers. 20 customers, whose receipts showed they ordered a burger with lettuce on the same day, were hospitalized later that day with salmonella. Tests conducted by independent scientists found salmonella on lettuce at Bob’s Burgers.
DAMAGES Jennifer deserves compensation for the medical bills for her broken leg, her son’s multiple surgeries and extended hospital stay, the lost wages since she now has to stay home and care for her son 24/7, the cost of fixing her car, the cost of a rental car, etc. Sally should be held responsible for causing those losses. The customers deserve compensation for their medical bills, lost wages from staying home sick, the cost of the meal, etc. The company should be held responsible for feeding people contaminated food.


Listen to this episode of our podcast, Civilly Speaking, to learn about the impactful work that our community of trial lawyers gets to do:

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OAJ has a robust community of talented and committed trial lawyers throughout Ohio.

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