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Progress Report: Medical Review Panel Act Deemed Unconstitutional


Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC has been following developments on the legal battle regarding the constitutionality of the 2017 Medical Review Panel Act. Now that battle has come to an end.

On November 15, 2018, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that the 2017 law introducing medical review panels for medical malpractice lawsuits is unconstitutional. The legislation creating Medical Review Panels was originally sponsored by Kentucky state Senator Ralph Alvarado (who is a practicing doctor) with support from Governor Matt Bevin.

The law was first challenged by Judge Philip Shepherd, a Franklin Circuit Court Judge. Judge Shepherd declared the law unconstitutional based upon Kentucky ‘s Constitution (Section 54), which states “The General Assembly shall have no power to limit the amount to be recovered for injuries resulting in death, or for injuries to person or property.” Shepherd also claimed that the use of medical review panels “protects the economic interests of the health care industry at the expense of consumers, with no demonstrable benefit to the public at large.”

The ruling means that people with a medical malpractice suit can now file their claims in circuit court without first going through the process of having their complaint reviewed by a panel of doctors.

Medical malpractice lawsuits constitute only 5% of all tort costs in Kentucky – or 0.1% of the state’s gross domestic product, according to a study by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform. Frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits are even rarer. This is due in part to laws holding lawyers liable for filing frivolous malpractice lawsuits.

Continued Advocacy for Victims of Medical Malpractice in Kentucky

The law firm of Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC fully supports this ruling. Brett and his team carefully screen and consider all medical malpractice cases for merit and do not accept so-called “frivolous” claims.

A meritorious medical malpractice lawsuit must satisfy three elements:

  • The first element is negligence – a medical professional’s conduct must deviate from the required standard of care.
  • The second is a serious injury – the plaintiff must have sustained an actual demonstrable harm.
  • The third is causation – the serious injury must result from the medical professional’s negligence.

Brett Oppenheimer and his team will continue to strive to support and represent victims of medical malpractice in Kentucky.

Call (502) 242-8877 today for a free consultation regarding your available legal options.

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