Med-Mal Caps Advance in Iowa, Mo.

Tort reform continued to advance in the Midwest last week as legislators in the House of Representatives in Iowa and Missouri passed measures that would put caps on noneconomic damages in medical liability cases.

The Iowa House passed HB 2440, which sets a cap of $250,000 on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases unless there is a finding of malice on the part of the defendant. The Missouri House passed HB 1304 that, among other things, changes the cap on noneconomic damages from $350,000 adjusted annually for inflation (currently equal to $565,000), to $400,00 without an inflation adjustment.

The American Medical Association classifies Iowa and Oklahoma as problem states while Missouri is listed as a state in crisis.
Missouri’s tort reform effort caps noneconomic damages, limits venue shopping by establishing the county where the cause of action occurred as being the venue for the case, and removes the “per occurrence” language in order to overrule the Missouri Supreme Court decision in Scott v. SSM Healthcare Systems.