Washington Law Review


This Comment considers the constitutionality of the Washington cap on noneconomic damages. The Comment briefly reviews the recent legislation of medical malpractice and tort reform damages ceilings and judicial decisions on the constitutionality of such ceilings. The Comment then analyzes the constitutionality of the Washington limit under the substantive due process and equal protection guarantees of the federal and state constitutions. Because under the federal constitution a court should give the statute only minimal scrutiny, the statute probably does not offend fourteenth amendment protections. Under the Washington Constitution, however, a court should give the statute intermediate scrutiny. Under intermediate scrutiny a court probably will hold that the limit violates the state equal protection guarantee, but a court probably will not hold the limit violative of substantive due process. Under the right of trial by jury guarantee of the state constitution, the statute also is unconstitutional.

First Page