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MICRA Ballot Measure Filed

Publication Date: 
July 25, 2013
Daily Journal
Paul Jones

Professor Nora Freeman Engstrom spoke with Paul Jones of the Daily Journal about the recently unveiled ballot initiative that could quadruple potential payouts for victims of medical malpractice and explained why it would be especially helpful for certain victims.

Trial lawyers and consumer advocates late Wednesday unveiled a long-awaited ballot initiative that would quadruple potential payouts for victims of medical malpractice. The filing of the initiative ratchets up pressure on the state's medical community to make a legislative deal with trial lawyers, but medical industry representatives have said they're ready for a public showdown.

"I think this is a really historic moment for Californians, who deserve the chance to undo this 37-year-old, unjust cap on the value of a child's life in a medical negligence case that's never been adjusted for inflation," said Jamie Court, head of Consumer Watchdog, one of the main backers of the initiative.


Brian Kabateck, president of Consumer Attorneys of California, has said that upping the MICRA cap will ensure fairer outcomes in cases where there are no economic damages. "Other legal experts, such as Nora Freeman Engstrom, an associate professor at Stanford Law School, have also noted that the limit on pain and suffering payouts makes it hard for people to go to court in [certain] cases...."

"When recoveries are reduced, cases may no longer be profitable from the lawyer's perspective, and a victim's ability to retain competent counsel will be dramatically diminished," Engstrom said.