Maryland's highest court has supported the state's cap on noneconomic damages adopted in 1986 to ensure the availability of liability insurance.
Md. high court backs cap on damages
The decision came in a case not involving medical malpractice but rather the 2006 swimming pool drowning of a 5-year-old boy, whose family sued the pool operator. A jury awarded the family $4 million, which was reduced to $1 million in accordance with the cap.
The American Medical Association's Litigation Center and Med Chi, the Maryland State Medical Society, filed a brief in support of the cap, which had been upheld previously by the Maryland Court of Appeals.
The state's high court concluded that the plaintiffs failed not only to show why the precedent should be set aside but also to demonstrate that state lawmakers had no rational basis to limit the damages that could be collected by severely injured residents and their survivors.
“The cap reflects a policy judgment by the General Assembly which does not interfere with the underlying right to a trial by jury because plaintiffs will still have a jury determine the facts and assess liability,” Judge Clayton Greene wrote in the opinion for the seven-judge panel.
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