Nevada Court Refuses to Block Med-Mal Ballot Initiative

August 26, 2004

The Nevada Supreme Court ruled on August 24 that a medical malpractice insurance initiative will remain on this November’s ballot despite efforts by attorneys representing malpractice victims to block it, according to the The Associated Press.

Nevada doctors, who pushed for the initiative titled “Keep Our Doctors in Nevada,” believe that reforms passed by the Legislature in 2002 did not go far enough. The initiative, if approved by voters, would limit noneconomic damage awards in med-mal cases to $350,000 with no exceptions and limit fees for attorneys. Laws passed in 2002, also limited noneconomic damage awards to $350,000, but specified certain exceptions.

The high court ruled against attorneys representing the Nevada State AFL-CIO, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, Rev. John Auer III, the National Organization for Women and the Nevada Young Activist Project. The petitioners said that the initiative does not present enough information to assess its impact, thus misleading voters and violating state and federal constitutions.

The initiative advanced to this year’s election after it was validated in December 2002 and the Legislature did not act upon it in 2003.

The court said that the petitioners seeking to block the initiative could not give a reason why they waited a year to file their petition. Ballots are scheduled to be printed in the coming weeks.

Nevada is one of several states in the nation facing high med-mal insurance rates. Doctors hope that the cap on noneconomic damages will help keep doctors in the state.

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