Illinois Supreme Court Repeals Damage Caps

The state’s highest court overturned the statutory $500,000 cap on non-economic damages which are defined as intangible, including pain and suffering, loss of consortium, disability, and disfigurement. In its decision to overturn the statute, the Supreme Court ruled that the law violated the separation of powers clause found in the state constitution. In its ruling, the Court noted that the law “unduly encroaches upon the fundamentally judicial prerogative of determining whether a jury’s assessment of damages is excessive within the meaning of the law.”
Shortly after the law was enacted in 2005, the case Lebron v. Gotlieb Memorial Hospital challenged the statute’s constitutionality. The case involved a baby born via Cesarean section. The child was born with numerous permanent injuries including brain damage and cerebral palsy. The case far exceeded the $500,000 cap on non-economic damages.