St. Louis Public Radio News
6:01 pm
Fri February 5, 2010

Ill. medical malpractice ruling to impact Mo. case?

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Illinois Supreme Court's ruling this week that struck down caps on some medical malpractice awards has some in Missouri hoping the Show-Me State's judges will come to the same conclusion.

Louis Bograd is a Washington DC attorney who argued before the Missouri Supreme Court last month that caps on non-economic damages should be ruled unconstitutional.

He says he will formally notify Missouri's High Court of the Illinois decision.

"What's at stake here is our civil justice system and the right of people to be fully compensated for their injuries," Bograd said.

Bograd also says caps deny severely-injured people the legal remedy they need.

Defendants in Missouri's case argued that a 2005 law capping non-economic damages in medical malpractice suits contributes to making heath care more affordable.

GOP legislative leaders are also hoping the Missouri Supreme Court does not follow Illinois' High Court in striking down caps.

House Budget Chairman Allen Icet (R, Wildwood) says the 2005 law was passed to slow down "runaway growth" in malpractice insurance costs, and that overturning the law would be bad for Missouri.

"Obviously there will be a significant uptick in suits, there will be a significant increase in insurance that doctors pay, and we (would be) right back to where doctors and others are simply retiring or leaving the state," Icet said.

Icet added that if the law is overturned, legislators would write and work to pass a new bill this year that would restore caps.

Icet is also running for State Auditor.