The US House voted today on H.R. 5, a bill which seeks to impose damages caps and other "reform" measures regarding malpractice claims against health care providers, often physicians. Passage of H.R. 5 would result in a serious blow to patient safety rights which have been protected in the US Constitution for over 200 years.
When arbitrary limits are imposed through legislation which cap all damages claims regardless of the nature of the harm, the civil jury system is threatened. As Thomas Jefferson said in 1789, I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.
Former Chief Justice William Renquist also advocated on the importance of the 7th Amendment: The founders of our nation considered the right of trial by jury in civil cases an important bulwark against tyranny and corruption, a 'safeguard too prescious to be left to the whim of the sovereign.'
Even though the bill was passed in the House, it passed by a narrow margin and it's encouraging to note that 10 Republicans voted "no" in addition to 4 Republicans who voted present.
The 5 minute video below is a powerful and informative speech that Representative Bruce Barley of Iowa gave on the house floor against H.R. 5.
In his speech Rep Barley references the original "Tea Party" and their opposition to limitations on constitutionally guaranteed jury trials which were so important they were included in the 7th Amendment of the Bill of Rights. in fact, a number of prominent Tea Party leaders today oppose what most Republicans call "tort reform" because at its core, medical malpractice or "tort" reform seeks to limit individual rights which are expressly contained in and should be protected by the US Constitution.
Angel Law, P.C. and our Portland personal injury attorneys stand with Representative Barley, today's Tea Party, the American Association for Justice, Thomas Jefferson and William Renquist in opposition to any obstacles that limit access to a civil jury and thereby threaten patient safety.