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Atlanta Oculoplastic Surgery, P.C. v. Nestlehutt
Supreme Court of Georgia
691 S.E.2d 218 (2010)
As part of its Tort Reform Act of 2005, Georgia passed a law that capped noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases at $350,000. Betty Nestlehutt (plaintiff) had plastic surgery at Atlanta Oculoplastic Surgery, P.C. (Oculus) (defendant) that resulted in complications and permanent disfigurement. Nestlehutt sued Oculus for medical malpractice. The jury returned a verdict of $1,265,000, including $115,000 in medical expenses, $900,000 in noneconomic damages for Nestlehutt’s pain and suffering, and $250,000 in noneconomic damages for Nestlehutt’s husband’s loss of consortium. The Georgia statute would have reduced the noneconomic damages to the statutory limit of $350,000. Nestlehutt filed a motion asking the court to declare the statute unconstitutional on several grounds. The trial court granted the motion and entered judgment for Nestlehutt on the full verdict. Oculus appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Hunstein, C.J.)
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