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 A Fulton County Georgia judge has struck down the cap on monetary awards in a medical malpractice case.  If that decision is upheld on appeal it could undercut a major component of Georgia’s tort reform laws.that if upheld on appeal could undercut a major component of Georgia’s tort reform laws.

Superior Court Judge Marvin Arrington wrote in an order released April 30, 2008 that the legislative cap of $350,000 for noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering was unconstitutional, because it gave special protections to the medical profession. This meant people injured by doctors had less protection than those injured by, say, a manufacturer’s product.

This raises an interesting topic for North Carolina voters in the upcoming election.  North Carolina voters will be faced with stark choices for Lt. Governor.  In 2005, N.C. Senator Mike Pittenger (current Republican candidate for Lt. Governor) sponsored a bill seeking to cap non-economic damages in malpractice lawsuits.  The bill Pittenger sponsored is eerily similar to the legislation that Judge Arrington struck as being unconstitutional in Georgia.  North Carolina Voters have a choice in this election: candidates who support full and equal access to justice for the poor and working classes in medical malpractice cases; and candidates who support caps on the amount injured citizens can recover in medical malpractice cases.  North Carolina voters should educate themselves on their choices before selecting candidates for public office this fall.  Do you know where the candidates stand?   


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