After three years of waiting for a high court ruling, Kansas doctors are applauding a decision by the Kansas Supreme Court upholding the states $250,000 noneconomic damages cap in medical liability cases.
The decision strengthens the award limit and clears the uncertainty that has plagued health professionals since the cap first was challenged, stated Jerry Slaughter, executive director of the Kansas Medical Society.
At this articles deadline, attorney William Skepnek, who represented the plaintiff, had not returned messages seeking comment. In a statement issued Oct. 5, the Kansas Assn. for Justice, representing the states trial bar, expressed disappointment at the decision, saying damages caps impair plaintiffs constitutional rights.
The right to trial by jury is at the core of our democracy, the association said. Juries are in the ideal position to resolve disputes fairly because they are the conscience of the local community. We are hopeful that the Kansas Legislature will fully restore Kansans constitutional rights by repealing the ill-conceived noneconomic damage cap law.
Of the total award, $400,000 went toward noneconomic damages, which a judge lowered to $250,000 based on a say damages cap established in 1988. Miller appealed the reduction, contending the cap was unconstitutional.
The case was argued twice because of changes to the Kansas Supreme Court bench, including the death of Chief Justice Robert E. Davis and the recusal of Justice Eric S. Rosen. The say high court most recently heard arguments in February 2011.
In other states, courts have issued differing opinions on caps.
In August, the Supreme Court of Missouri threw out the states $350,000 noneconomic damages cap on medical lawsuits. In March, the Supreme Court of Louisiana reaffirmed that states $500,000 limit on total medical liability damages, declaring the cap constitutional. In 2011, the Court of Appeal of the State of California, 5th Appellate District, upheld the states $250,000 noneconomic damages cap.
Reaffirmation of the Kansas cap means that doctors there will continue to have a stable medical liability climate, Slaughter said. Since the cap was established, doctors have experienced reasonable liability insurance rates, and patients have had access to high-risk medical services, he said.
We feel the ruling was extremely positive and will continue to make Kansas a really good place to practice medicine, he said.
Copyright 2012 American Medical Association. All rights reserved.
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Submited at Sunday, October 21st, 2012 at 12:15 am on Uncategorized by admin
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