The tort reform legislation in the state of Missouri and three times attempted in the state of Illinois is, in fact, contrary to constitutional provisions, most notably, the concept of separation of powers. The Missouri law and the Illinois law that was proposed (and three times struck down by the Illinois Supreme Court on these grounds) works by limited recovery to Plaintiffs. Thus, only the most deserving of Plaintiffs is affected – – those who have convinced a jury of their peers that the healthcare provider did commit malpractice and that their damages flowing therefrom exceeded the damage caps imposed by the legislation. In Missouri, the cap is $350,000 in non-economic damages; in Illinois, a similar cap was proposed at $500,000 and $1 million, depending on the bill.
Effectively in passing this legislation, the legislatures placed an arbitrary cap on damages and effectively muted the jury. The U.S. and state constitutions involved call for a separation of powers such that the legislative branch should never be able to dictate an arbitrary result in a judicial case. However, this is exactly what the arbitrary damage caps do. They are not fit to a case; evidence is not reviewed on a case-by-case basis in any manner and the caps are absolute. The result: More and more victims of medical negligence go uncompensated and cases are riskier and more expensive than ever to file and pursue.