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North Dakota medical malpractice caps challenged

BISMARCK, N.D. — A North Dakota woman, who is disabled as a result of surgery, is challenging a state law that limits medical malpractice damages she can receive.

Chenille Condon was awarded $3.5 million by a jury in April. She is arguing that a 1995 state law capping “noneconomic damages” for her pain and suffering at $500,000 is unconstitutional, The Bismarck Tribune reported.

CHI St. Alexius Health, the hospital that operated on Condon, says the law creates certainty in the medical malpractice insurance market and keeps premiums low and affordable for doctors.

The hospital recently made a motion in May to reduce Condon’s verdict by $1 million.

Condon’s attorneys said the cap is unjustified and punishes the people who are most seriously injured by limiting the damages they can receive.

“Someone injured by medical malpractice, yet suffering minor injury compared to Ms. Condon’s, would receive the full measure of non-economic damages determined by the jury,” the brief said. “The 1995 damages cap unfairly and arbitrarily discriminates against Chenille Condon, because of the severity of the harm she suffered as a result of defendant Booth’s negligence.”

In 2012, Condon suffered from a stroke that was a result from a biopsy. Cardiac and thoracic surgeon Dr. Allen Michael Booth was found to have negligently performed surgery.

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