It is with great pride and joy that I announce that the Georgia Supreme Court today held caps on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases unconstitutional as a violation of a citizen’s 7th Amendment right to a jury trial. The ruling was in Atlanta Oculoplastic Surgery, P.C. v. Nestlehutt, published today. The Georgia Supreme Court held unequivocally that nothing trumps a person’s 7th Amendment right to a jury trial, including the Legislature’s attempt to cap damages.
This is a great victory for Everyday Georgians who have been or may become the victim of medical malpractice or medical carelessness. Contrary to the Medical Association of Georgia’s spin on this, the caps law did NOT decrease doctors’ medical malpractice premiums. In the three years between 2002-2005, malpractice premiums increased 150%. In the five years since the caps law was enacted, premiums have gone down only 7%, hardly the panacea physicians were looking for and hardly the cure-all that MAG claims it was.
So Everyday Georgians can rest easy tonight knowing the Georgia Supreme Court would not stand idly by and allow their rights to be trampeled. Many thanks to the Nestlehutts, who showed remarkable courage through this ordeal, and to their attorneys, Adam Malone and Mike Terry.