Wisconsin cap on damages in medical malpractice cases unconstitutional

On Thursday, July 14, 2005, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued a 4-3 decision striking down as unconstitutional Wisconsinís cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. The $350,000 cap (indexed for inflation)went into effect in May 1995. The Wisconsin Supreme Court's decision rested on equal protection grounds, although other constitutional infirmities were also asserted. The Plaintiff in the case is Matthew Ferdon, now 8, who is partially paralyzed and has a deformed right arm as a result of an injury that occurred at birth. The case is Ferdon v. Wisconsin Patients Compensation Fund, 2005 WI 125 (July 14, 2005). Hawaii has considered and even implemented some "tort reform" measures which appear to suffer from the same constitutional defects.

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