Former N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Bev Lake recently opined that the proposed legislation (Senate Bill 33) that would vastly reduce medical malpractice victims' rights in the state is unconstitutional. Justice Lake specifically stated that the proposed arbitrary cap on recovery for damages in such claims which Senate Republicans have proposed would be unconstitutional. Proponents of the legislation have pushed a $250,000 cap.
Justice Lake served on the North Carolina Supreme Court for twelve years, sitting as the Chief Justice from 2000 to 2006. I find Justice Lake's opinion particularly interesting given that he is a Republican. The current round of "tort reform" bills being introduced in the N.C. legislature, which are aimed to destroy the rights of the states' citizens, are being pushed primarily by Republicans. Justice Lake made some very important points in an interview regarding Senate Bill 33. He noted that such a cap is "unnecessary as well as unconstitutional". He further stated "North Carolina citizens have a 'sacred and inviolable' right to have a jury determine the amount of compensatory damages, including non-economic damages, under our Constitution. The right to have a jury make that decision cannot be eliminated or restricted by the General Assembly."