Georgia Court Kills Caps on Medical Malpractice While Missouri Court Upholds Caps

By a 7-0 vote, the Supreme Court of Georgia on Monday struck down the state’s caps on pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice cases. “The very existence of the caps, in any amount, is violative of the right to trial by jury,” Chief Justice Carol W. Hunstein wrote in her opinion for the court.

The ruling was the climax of the legal fights over the 2005 tort reform package. Although the court’s response to various aspects of the package had been mixed, the caps, which generally limit non-economic damages to $350,000 in a case against a single medical malpractice defendant, were the most controversial part of Senate Bill 3.  Courtesy of

Missouri Supreme Court ruling that keeps intact Missouri’s cap on non-economic damages in medical liability lawsuits.  In doing so, the court upheld years of prior decisions which supported tort reform measures.  Although the court held the cap was unconstitutional to plaintiffs whose injuries occurred before the law was enacted, it did not find the reforms including the cap – violated any other section of the Constitution.  

Missouri had been mired in a professional liability insurance crisis when the Missouri General Assembly passed a package of common-sense tort reforms including the cap on non-economic damages in 2005.  Since that time, the liability insurance premiums paid by physicians is approximately 17% less than in states that have no cap.  

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