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Illinois Medical Malpractice Cap Unconstitutional

Recently, the Illinois Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional a  state law capping non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases.  The Illinois suit was filed by Francis Lebron and her daughter, who was born in 2005 with cerebral palsy and other impairments. The Lebrons sued Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park, Ill., along with a doctor and nurse involved in the delivery, alleging negligence.

The Illinois Supreme Court weighed the constitutionality of a 2005 state law that caps pain-and-suffering damages at $500,000 or $1 million, depending on whether damages are awarded against a physician or hospital, respectively.
That law, the court noted in its ruling, was passed to address the rising cost of medical liability insurance in the state. Still, the court held that the damage cap violates the Illinois constitution's "separation of powers" doctrine by infringing on courts' prerogative to determine appropriate damages in cases.