Although it was scheduled to do so, the Illinois Supreme Court did not release its decision this morning on a case that could overturn the state’s 2005 malpractice reform law that capped noneconomic damage awards at $500,000 for doctors and $1 million for hospitals. It did not give a reason for the delay and it’s not known when the decision will be issued.
The court is debating the constitutionality of the caps as part of a consolidated case known as LeBron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital; Alexander v. Nacopoulos et al.; and Zago v. Resurrection Medical Center, et al. The Illinois State Medical Society and the American Medical Association filed a joint amicus brief that argued the decision of a lower court, which overturned the law and called it unconstitutional, should be reversed.
The brief stated that the Illinois Legislature crafted a rational solution to the state’s problem of doctors leaving the state to practice in states where medical liability rates were lower. They also said that limiting noneconomic damages was an effective way to do this and did not impede on the judicial system’s authority to decide specific cases.
Representatives from the Illinois State Bar Association and the 234-bed Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park, which was purchased by the Loyola University Health System in 2008, were unavailable for comment at deadline.