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Judge Holds Maryland Damages Cap Not Applicable to Malpractice Cases
Date:4/21/2009

d to all malpractice cases, but that as finally passed, the statute only referred to cases that had been previously arbitrated, not the majority of cases in which one or both sides waive out of arbitration and proceed only in court. In rejecting an effort by the defense to read the statute as including all malpractice claims, whether arbitrated or not, Judge Debelius ruled: "[T]his court is without authority to amend the statute to reinstate language deleted from a draft version of the legislation, or to insert new words to the same effect, whether consistent with the perceived legislative intent or otherwise."

The judge rejected several other arguments by the defendant to reduce the damage award, but did agree that the award should be reduced to give credit for an out-of-court settlement with another defendant. He held that the Semsker family was entitled to recover $2,860,436 from Dr. Albert and the Lockshin practice.

The Semsker family is represented by Patrick Malone of Patrick Malone & Associates, P.C., in Washington, D.C., and Jon Thornton of Pierce & Thornton, in Norfolk, Virginia, along with Ned Miltenberg of the Center for Constitutional Litigation in Washington, D.C.

Malone commented: "On the same day as the judge's ruling, a report was released that shows Maryland ranks 45th among the 50 states in its rate of disciplining doctors who harm patients. Rather than trying to win special protection from the legislature to shield doctors and hospitals from accountability for the injuries they cause, the medical leaders of Maryland should clean up the disciplinary process so that the truly dangerous doctors are weeded out."

The report Malone referred to was the annual ranking published by Public Citizen of physician license disciplinary boards. It can be accessed at: '/>"/>

SOURCE Patrick Malone & Associates, P.C.
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