Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride has been under fire lately for a vote that he cast in a recent high profile state case. The decision revolved around a challenge to the 2005 state law that placed a cap on the amount of damages that could be received by a victim of medical malpractice.
Justice Kilbride, soon to be the high court’s next Chief Justice, voted earlier this year to invalidate the law as violating the state constitution’s demand of separation of powers. In addition, there was precedential support for the ruling, consider a similar ban had been rejected a few decades before.
In a recent interview with the Peoria Journal Star the justice highlighted the logic behind the decision. He explained that the court did not make the ruling based on personal policy arguments for or against health care premiums and patient need. Instead, as is the specific job of our judges, Kilbride considered the law only in its constitutional dimension
The law had specifically limited the damages that victims could be awarded in certain categories, regardless of the specific facts of the case. That meant that an impartial jury could hear an entire case, understand the arguments, evaluate the evidence, be presented facts about the losses suffered, reach a decision based on that process and then have that decision rejected. As Justice Kilbride made clear, victims of medical malpractice, just like anyone else, deserve a fair hearing in the courtroom. It is an overreach of legislative power to take away that basic access to the court.
Our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Levin & Perconti support the logical, fair, constitutionally sound decision reached by the state’s highest court on this issue. Illinois is stronger because of the logical approach reached by Justice Kilbride and the other members of the high court.