Saturday, September 19, 2009
Med mal reform defeat in Washington
Good news for victims of medical malpractice in the state of Washington and, perhaps, all over the nation. The requirement that a plaintiff obtain a “Certificate of Merit” prior to filing a medical malpractice claim was declared unconstitutional by the Washington State Supreme Court yesterday. Interetingly, this is one of the ideas that have been mentioned in the context of President Obama’s state-level medical malpractice pilot projects. The court ruled that the law violates the separation of state powers, saying that allowing the Legislature to set rules about filing a lawsuit "conflicts with the judiciary's inherent power to set court procedures." Seven of the justices also said that the law was unconstitutional because it unduly burdened the right of access to courts. "Obtaining the evidence necessary to obtain a certificate of merit may not be possible prior to discovery" wrote the majority, led by Justice Susan Owens. "Requiring plaintiffs to submit evidence supporting their claims prior to the discovery process violates the plaintiffs' right of access to courts." For more on the story, go here. Thanks to the PopTort for the information.