Supreme Court reverses decision awarding Canfield councilwoman $2.3 million


COLUMBUS — A decision by the Ohio Supreme Court reversed a decision awarding more than $2 million to a newly elected Canfield city councilwoman in her breach-of-contract claim against Nationwide Insurance Company.

The court ruled punitive damages are not recoverable in a breach-of-contract action.

This reverses a unanimous decision by the Youngstown-based 7th District Court of Appeals that awarded Christine Lucarell, who goes by Christine Oliver on Canfield’s city council, $2,375,708.

The jury in the 2012 trial of Lucarell’s lawsuit against Nationwide awarded her $42.8 million, but visiting Judge Thomas J. Pokorny, of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, reduced that to $14,167,010 after the trial, and the appeals court further reduced it to the $2,375,708 figure.

Lucarell, who ran a Nationwide agency in Boardman Plaza, had sued the insurance giant, alleging it breached her contract as a Nationwide agent.

The Supreme Court returned the case to the 7th District Court of Appeals for further proceedings consistent with the high court's opinion.

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