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Georgia, Missouri and Kansas Courts

Three States Address Capping Noneconomic Damages

These caps on noneconomic damages are some of the early efforts at reforming the tort system and very heavy-handedly affect the older retired workers and low income populations in a grossly disproportionate manner. They are discriminatory and don't focus on reducing errors and enhancing patient safety. The state AARP offices in Georgia, Kansas and Missouri opposed these laws consistent with AARP public policy that states "To be effective in the long run, approaches to address problems in the current medical malpractice system must both significantly reduce the number of preventable medical injuries and offer appropriate compensation for people who are injured despite improved safety efforts." AARP Policy Book 2009-2010, at ppg 7-14, 7-15.  

The Georgia, Kansas and Missouri cases have far-reaching implications for older people in the three states, and will send an important message to other states grappling with the same questions. Georgia's ruling in particular is an encouraging first decision. While Missouri's did not go as far as the Georgia decision, the concurrence referenced that decision favorably and noted the constitutional wording was the same in both state constitutions.

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