Firm News

Abigail Lebron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital

On February 4, 2010, in a four to two decision with one justice abstaining, the Illinois Supreme Court held that the cap on economic damages in medical malpractice cases enacted by the Illinois legislature in 2005 is unconstitutional.  That decision, Abigail Lebron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, et al., Docket Nos. 105741, 105745 cons., agrees with the circuit court's ruling and holds that this provision violates the Illinois Constitution's separation of powers clause.  In the Court's own words, the cap "unduly encroaches upon the fundamentally judicial prerogative of determining whether a jury's assessment of damages is excessive within the meaning of the law."

This was the only issue the Court reached, but because of a nonseverability clause of the 2005 Tort Reform Act that adopted caps, Public Act 94-677, it held that the entire Act and each of its provisions was invalid and void.  The Court went on to state, however, that "because the other provisions contained in Public Act 94-677 are deemed invalid solely on inseverability grounds, the legislature remains free to reenact any provisions it deems appropriate."