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90-Day Notice of Intent to Sue Law Declared Unconstitutional

On July 1, 2010, the Washington Supreme Court dismantled another piece of the bipartisan and modest liability reform measure agreed upon in 2006 after lengthy negotiations among physicians, personal-injury lawyers, Physicians Insurance, the Washington State Medical Association, the Washington State Hospital Association, and Gov. Gregoire.

The Court decided on a 6-3 vote that the requirement plaintiffs give a 90-day notice before suing health care providers for malpractice is unconstitutional. 

This is the second blow the court has dealt the 2006 compromise agreement in less than one year. Last fall, the court ruled another sensible reform, the certificate of merit, was unconstitutional. If these two simple reforms cannot survive in Washington, it creates serious concerns as to whether other reforms will survive in the future. 

As Justice Jim Johnson said in his dissent, this decision “further eviscerates the [2006] legislative package such that it can no longer properly be called a compromise. This is not what the legislature, the governor, or those other 'good faith' parties at the negotiating table agreed to . . . .”  He was joined in this opinion by Justices Fairhurst and Madsen.


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For all media inquiries, please contact:

David Kinard
Marketing and Communications
206-343-6618 or david@phyins.com



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