HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Washington State Moves Closer to Med-Mal Caps

At precisely the same time med-mal reform seems to be self-destructing in Maryland, Washington is moving closer to caps on med-mal verdicts for pain and suffering.  As reported on Dec. 29 in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Sponsors of an initiative to cap "pain and suffering" damage awards in medical malpractice cases submitted about 315,000 petition signatures yesterday.

Initiative 330, dubbed the "Health Care Access Initiative," was written by the medical community and sets up a showdown with a rival initiative sponsored by trial lawyers, labor and a coalition of activists.

The measures are likely to end up on the statewide ballot in November, but are headed to the Legislature first.

Lawmakers have three options with each measure: Pass it into law, ignore it and send it to the ballot, or send it and a legislative alternative to the voters.

Although the Democrats will control both houses of the Legislature and a Democrat will probably occupy the governor's mansion, most observers expect lawmakers to debate the topic, but send the final decision to the people.

The Washington State Medical Association's web site on the bill is here.

The Secretary of State's description of the initiative is here.  The text of the initiative is available on the SOS web site in HTML and  PDF[tm]

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