Justinian Lane

Hospital President Wants Damage Cap RAISED

This is definitely the tort "reform" equivalent of a "dog bites man" story.

Since 1995, OHSU has enjoyed the sunny sanctuary of the Oregon Tort Claims Act, which limits jury awards against the hospital and other public agencies to $200,000 in damages.

That liability limit -- unavailable to every other hospital in the state -- is being reviewed by the Oregon Supreme Court in the Jordaan Michael Clarke case.

At the age of three months, Clarke suffered prolonged oxygen deprivation in an OHSU intensive care unit after heart surgery. His family sued OHSU, which admitted negligence, for more than $17 million.

Last July, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled the family's suit could proceed, effectively killing the cap. While the hospital appealed that decision to the Supremes, OHSU President Joseph Robertson has joined the chorus of those who believe the tort limit needs to be amended.

"I want to be unequivocal: I think the cap should be raised," Robertson said Wednesday. "We want it to meet the 'Is this reasonable?' test."

Source: And the Legislature is 0-for-3 -

I applaud Joseph Robertson for acknowledging that $200,000 is not reasonable.  Do you think our good friends at the ILR and the ATR will join Robertson in his quest to raise the cap?

Cross-posted to Corpreform

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Posted at 9:03 AM, May 17, 2007 in Damage Caps
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I have no problem with the notion that the damage caps should be raised or abolished but ONLY for provable economic damages.

In the case of a death associated with an alleged malpractive, the emotional factor often outweights the objective factors particularly in the case of the death of a child. While it is true that no amount of money can adequately replace a life, it is also true that an award of $1.00 for subjective elements is therefore as adequate as $5,000,000.00. From an economic perspective, the death of a child often saves the parents a lot of money in the long run.

It's a crass way to look at the situation but no more crass that to ask the jury to award millions of dollars of "blood money" for the death of a child

Posted by: Paul W Dennis | May 18, 2007 5:33 AM