Judge Diane Larsen of the Cook County Circuit Court in Illinois declared the state’s law on caps on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases unconstitutional last Tuesday, November 13th. The decision, Lebron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, found that the caps, enacted by the Illinois legislature at $500,000 per case for doctors and $1 million per case for hospitals, intrude upon the responsibilities of the judicial branch of government—thereby violating the guarantee of a separation of powers.
The Illinois legislature has capped non-economic damages three separate times over thirty-one years—and the courts have found each of those efforts to be unconstitutional. Robert S. Peck of the Center for Constitutional Litigation, PC (CCL), argued the case for the plaintiffs. Also representing Abigail Lebron in the matter were Chicago lawyers Jeffrey Goldberg and Todd Smith, as well as CCL lawyer Francine Hochberg. This case will likely be appealed and heard by a higher court