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Governor of North Carolina Vetoes Medical Malpractice Reform Bill

(EMAILWIRE.COM, July 29, 2011 ) RALIEGH, NC- Gov. Bev Perdue (D) of North Carolina vetoed a bill that would cap noneconomic medical malpractice damages at $500,000. Senate Bill 33, a medical malpractice reform bill would have put a cap on damages regardless of injury. Several others challenged the bill, including a physician who appeared in television advertisements and press releases.

The physician, Dr. John Faulkner, described how his wife was seriously disfigured when a fire broke out in the operating room during a routine procedure. In a letter to lawmakers, Faulkner wrote that no one can put put a “cap” on his wife's injuries, so why is it fair for lawmakers to put a cap on what it's worth? He explained that it would be more prudent and fair to let juries decide rather than lawmakers.

Opponents of the bill argued that the cap on damages violates the North Carolina Constitution in that if a jury awards a plaintiff more than $250,000 in damages, the judge will overrule the jury, depriving the plaintiff of a jury's verdict.
Other doctors, including two in the legislator- Senator Bill Purcell (D) and Senator Eric Mansfield (D)- supported a House amendment that would have excluded severe physical injuries from the cap.

The bill's specific language capped damages at $500,000 even for death, paralysis, brain damage and severe disfigurement. This cap would occur unless the patient could prove reckless disregard, gross negligence or intentional malice.
Vetoing this bill has reinforced Perdue's promise to pursue meaning medical malpractice reform.

Medical malpractice is a mistake, negligent action, or negligence in the inaction of a medical professional, resulting in serious injury, or even death. Every year, nearly 100,000 patients die in medical malpractice accidents. Thousands of others are seriously injured. A medical malpractice case could be filed for a number of reasons, such as: failure to diagnose in a timely manner or at all, failure to inform patient of diagnosis, misdiagnosis, improper treatment, or a lack of treatment or a delay in treatment. However, what constitutes medical malpractice is debatable.

LegalView is a consortium of four of the nation's top law firms. LegalView offers free information, including free consultations from malpractice attorneys, about various legal topics.

If you or someone you know feels they may have been a victim of medical malpractice and are interested in speaking to a medical malpractice lawyer, please visit LegalView at

About LegalView:
LegalView is a public service brought to you by Legal WebTV Network, LLC, a Limited Liability Corporation created by a group of the nation's most highly respected law firms: Anapol Schwartz; Cohen, Placitella and Roth; James F. Humphreys and Associates; and Lopez McHugh. For more information on the accomplishments and track records of LegalView's superior sponsoring law firms and to get in touch with LegalView attorneys, visit LegalView at

Danielle Franklin


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