Sitting justice attacks W.Va. cap on non-economic damages

By Steve Korris | Jul 28, 2011


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Legal Newsline) - West Virginia's limits on non-economic damages for victims of medical malpractice violate the state Constitution, Circuit Judge Ronald Wilson argues against a Supreme Court majority that reached the opposite conclusion.

In a July 21 dissent, Wilson asked, "How can a damage cap that blatantly favors a special class of medical professional by limiting or taking away the damages an injured person may recover from a medical professional be constitutional?"

He wrote, "No other person who negligently injures another person is given that unconstitutional protection."

Wilson joined the court on a temporary basis to hear a challenge to state law capping non-economic damages at $250,000, or $500,000 in the most serious cases.

Plaintiff James MacDonald argued that legislators improperly reduced a $1 million cap in 2003, but the majority upheld the reduction.

Chief Justice Margaret Workman wrote that it wasn't their prerogative to substitute their judgment for that of the Legislature.

To view the entire article, visit the West Virginia Record.

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