Kentucky Supreme Court Strikes Down 2017 Law, Allows Medical Malpractice Suits

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The Kentucky Supreme Court unanimously struck down a 2017 law that limited medical malpractice lawsuits by creating medical review panels, calling it unconstitutional.

The court issued a 34-page ruling stating that the law delayed access to state courts to adjudicate common-law claims. While all seven justices agreed on the ruling, they issued two separate concurring opinions.

“Of all the rights guaranteed by state constitutions but absent from the federal Bill of Rights, the guarantee of a right of access to the courts to obtain a remedy for injury is possibly the most important,” Supreme Court Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. wrote in his opening statement.

Previously, the law in Kentucky stated that claims filed against health care providers, doctors, nursing homes, hospitals, and executives of those facilities needed to be evaluated by panels comprised of three medical providers before moving to court. The opinions of these panels were then able to be entered as evidence in litigation. It was initially struck down in October of 2017 by Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd, who stated that the law,

“protects the economic interests of the health care industry at the expense of consumers, with no demonstrable benefit to the public at large.”

The case then bypassed the Kentucky Court of Appeals – however, the circuit court allowed the law to proceed during the appeals process that eventually brought it to the Kentucky Supreme Court. During the short time this law was in place, hundreds of medical malpractice cases were unable to proceed to court while waiting for assignment and review by these panels.

At Kinnard Law, our attorneys have spent more than 40 years representing injured victims across the United States, including in Kentucky. Attorney Randall L. Kinnard has worked with numerous injured victims in the state, and through his and the firm’s efforts has secured hundreds of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for clients over the years. If you or someone you love was the victim of medical malpractice, call us at (615) 933-2893 or send us the details of your case through our online form.

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