The Washington Supreme Court has struck down a law in that state meant to curb the number of medical malpractice lawsuits.

As an AP account put it, “The state Supreme Court has unanimously thrown out a 2006 law that requires an injured patient to get a certificate of merit from an expert before they can sue for medical malpractice.”

In its opinion, the court said, “We hold [the law] is unconstitutional because it unduly burdens the right of access to courts and violates the separation of powers.”

One alternative, suggested by the Cato Institute, would be to let patients enact tort reform by contract [PDF], which might be better than state-level restrictions on a person’s ability to address a grievance through the courts. In turn, state-level restrictions would be better (on the grounds of federalism, among other things), than getting Congress into the act.

Cross-posted from State House Call.

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