Today, the Illinois Supreme Court held that legislative caps on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases violate the separation of powers clause of the Illinois Constitution. This landmark decision, Lebron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, No. 105741 (Ill. Feb. 4, 2010), comes as a huge relief to Chicago medical malpractice lawyers who represent the interests of those permanently injured or killed every year as a result of preventable medical errors.
The Lebron case was brought on behalf of Abigaile Lebron who allegedly sustained numerous permanent injuries during childbirth at Gottlieb, including “severe brain injury, cerebral palsy, cognitive mental impairment, inability to be fed normally such that she must be fed by a gastronomy tube, and inability to develop normal neurological functioning.”
At issue on appeal was the constitutionality of section 2-1706.5 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which was adopted as part of Public Act 94-677, and which capped the award of noneconomic damages (including pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, loss of consortium and loss of society) in medical malpractice actions at $500,000 for a physician and $1,000,000 for a hospital.
The Supreme Court held that the limitation on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice actions set forth in section 2-1706.5 of the Code violates the separation of powers clause of the Illinois Constitution and is invalid. Further, because Public Act 94-677 contained an inseverability provision, the entire Act is invalid and void in its entirety.
Our Chicago personal injury lawyers believe that all citizens of the United States have a right to a trial by a jury of their peers to decide appropriate compensation in civil actions. For a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call Passen & Powell at (312) 527-4500.