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Pulliam v. Coastal Emergency Services

Virginia Supreme Court
509 S.E.2d 307 (Va. 1999)


Mrs. Pulliam died due to an initial false diagnosis by a doctor at Coastal Emergency Services (CES) (defendant). Mrs. Pulliam’s husband (Pulliam) (plaintiff) brought suit for medical malpractice. The jury found CES vicariously liable and returned a verdict of $2,045,000. Virginia, however, had a medical malpractice cap of $1,000,000, so the trial court judge reduced the verdict to that amount. Pulliam appealed on the grounds that the cap is unconstitutional in that it violated (1) a plaintiff’s right to trial by jury, (2) the prohibition against special legislation, (3) the constitution’s prohibition against unjustified taking of property, (4) due process and equal protection, (5) and the separation of powers doctrine.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Carrico, C.J.)

Concurrence (Kinser, J.)

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