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Illinois SC expected to release med-mal opinion

By Ann Maher | Feb 2, 2010

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Legal Newsline)-The Illinois Supreme Court is expected Thursday to file its opinion on the constitutionality of the state's landmark medical malpractice reform law.

A ruling had been expected in December regarding a challenge to the Illinois Medical Malpractice Act of 2005.

The statute caps non-economic medical malpractice damages at $500,000 for doctors and $1 million for hospitals.

Passed by a Democratic-led state Legislature and signed into law by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the law limits non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. It does not, however, limit actual damages, such as medical expenses and lost wages.

In 2008, Illinois Supreme Court justices heard oral arguments in the original Cook County case, LeBron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital. The lawsuit centered on the severe disability of a young girl, Abigaile Lebron.

At trial in 2007, Cook County Circuit Judge Joan Larsen ruled that medical malpractice lawsuit caps are unconstitutional.

The Illinois Supreme Court had indicated its decision in the closely-watched case would be filed in December, but later withdrew it from the list of opinions to be released.

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