Washington Supreme Court Throws out Med Mal Reform

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.”

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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.