On June 20, the Marion County trial court judge presiding over the Matthews vs. Lupton case ruled the Matthews plaintiffs were entitled to a requested evidentiary hearing. The defendant, assisted by the ISMA, will have the option to file an appeal by July 22 in this second constitutionality challenge filed in October 2012.
The ISMA reported previously on a victory in the Plank vs. Community Hospital case challenging the constitutionality of your Indiana medical malpractice damages cap. That cap is fixed by statute and, after being raised twice since 1975, currently sits at $1.25 million.
In Plank, the plaintiffs received an $8.5 million jury verdict. Then eight days post-verdict, they filed notice of their intention to challenge the constitutionality of the damages cap to obtain more than the $1.25 million. After much briefing and arguments before the appellate courts, the Indiana Supreme Court unanimously ruled last January that the plaintiffs waited too long to raise their challenge. Thus, they forfeited any opportunity to argue against the law.
Like Plank, at issue in the second challenge was whether the Matthews plaintiffs were entitled to a special hearing to introduce evidence on the constitutionality of our 1975 Medical Malpractice Act. And, like the Plank case, the defendant argued that by waiting until after the trial was concluded, the plaintiffs waited too long to raise their challenge.
“Beyond Matthews, we know there are dozens more medical malpractice constitutionality challenges pending across the state,” said Julie Reed, ISMA general counsel. “Our vigilance in helping defend these cases – and your profession - is as important as ever.”
Each time the ISMA steps in to defend our state malpractice law and preserve a favorable liability environment, the action is supported only with your membership dollars.
For questions, contact Reed or call the ISMA.