Illinois Judge Overturns Medical Malpractice Limits

By November 14, 2007Briefly Legal, Health Care

From our friends at the indefatigable Illinois Civil Justice League, bad news on the health-care front.

An Illinois judge struck down a state law Tuesday protecting doctors and hospitals from large payouts in medical malpractice cases, a move that could reopen the bitter political fight over patients’ rights and big-money lawsuits.

That’s the angle? The political consequences. Gee. Maybe the more serious consequences are lives and medical costs.*

Judge Larsen’s ruling (in .pdf).

Illinois Civil Justice League statement.

Illinois State Medical Society statement:

“We are disappointed in the decision, which strikes down the very careful and deliberate effort of the state legislature to bring vital reforms to Illinois,” said Theodore B. Olson, former U.S. Solicitor General and prominent constitutional scholar who heads the ISMS/ISMIE team defending the law.

“In 2005, Illinois lawmakers faced health care shortages throughout Illinois due to an exodus of medical professionals triggered by out-of-control medical malpractice litigation. It’s a well-documented fact that reforms like these are working in other states. They attract more doctors and make health care more widely available,” stated Mr. Olson.

Illinois State Hospital Association statement.

Illinois Trial Lawyers Association statement.

* To be fair to the reporter, the rulings’ effect on costs and medical care are theoretical and disputed. The political battle? That’s a certainty.

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