Since 2004, Nevada statute has limited jury awards in medical malpractice actions to $350,000 for noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering.
Illinois has a similar statute, which limits noneconomic damages to $500,000 for doctors and $1 million for hospitals.
Today, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the Illinois statute limiting damages was unconstitutional. As the Chicago Tribune notes, the Court struck down the under the Illinois Constitution because it "violates separation of powers by allowing lawmakers to interfere with a judge’s ability to reduce verdicts."
While the parties arguing for upholding the statute cited the several states which have enacted medical malpractice damage caps, the Illinois Supreme Court refused to uphold the statute based on the status quo. According to the Court’s opinion, "That ‘everybody is doing it," is hardly a litmus test for the constitutionality of the statute."
Steve is the Managing Shareholder of Steven J. Klearman & Associates, a civil litigation law firm located in Reno, Nevada. He practices primarily in the areas of civil litigation and injury law, and has authored one of the definitive guides to Nevada civil law that is widely used by Nevada judges and attorneys, his book entitled Elements of Nevada Legal Theories.