On February 4, 2010, in the case of Lebron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, Docket Nos. 105741 and 105745, the Supreme Court of Illinois struck down the cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases, holding that the cap, which had limited damages to $500,000.00 for doctors and $1,000,000.00 for hospitals, is unconstitutional because the law violates “separation of powers by allowing lawmakers to interfere with a judge’s ability to reduce verdicts.” The Supreme Court noted that such a cap impedes a jury’s right to establish reasonable damages.
Illinois joins Ohio, Alabama, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Kansas in declaring that caps on non-economic damages are unconstitutional. The Court of Appeals in Maryland has thus far rejected this argument and currently, damages for pain and suffering and other, non-economic harm are capped. The amount recoverable depends on the year in which the malpractice occurred. The cap is raised by $15,000.00 per year.