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Illinois Supreme Court Delays Ruling on Malpractice Damage Caps

The Illinois Supreme Court did not rule on whether the state’s four-year-old medical malpractice reform law will survive, as it was expected to. The next batch of Supreme Court opinions is expected in mid-January. The ruling could directly impact the constitutionality of damage caps for doctors and hospitals. It is being watched closely by the health care industry and employers who see caps on damages as a way to tame rising health care costs. Twice before in state history Illinois lawmakers have adopted caps, and both times the Illinois Supreme Court nixed them. Cook County Circuit Judge Diane Larsen decided that caps on malpractice awards violated the Illinois Constitution’s “separation of powers” clause, stating the legislation can’t interfere with the right of juries and judges to determine fair damages. The first case to test the law is that of a 13-month-year-old girl who suffered severe brain injury during birth. The lawsuit charged the hospital, her doctor and her nurse with medical negligence. Medical malpractice caps do nothing but further injure an already distraught victim. To learn more about the delayed ruling, please click the link.