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Monday, March 22, 2010 - 4:42am

Georgia's Top Court Overturns Med Malpractice Limits

Georgia's top court has overturned a state law that set a $350,000 limit on jury awards for malpractice victims'
pain and suffering and other non-economic damages.

The Georgia Supreme Court's ruling, decided Monday by a 7-0 vote, overturns the cornerstone of a sweeping 2005 law that also set tougher standards for expert witnesses in malpractice trials and gave new incentives for patients to settle out of court.

Doctors and hospitals contended the measures would curb malpractice insurance rates and discourage parties from making frivolous claims. Trial lawyers and patient advocacy groups say limiting damage awards is unconstitutional because it puts an arbitrary price on a victim's life.

The court upheld a Fulton County judge's ruling and said the law violates the right to a trial by jury.

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