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Oregon Court of Appeals allows damages to exceed caps in medical malpractice case of infant

Under Oregon law, jury awards against public agencies are limited to $100,000 in general damages and $100,000 in special damages. Earlier this month, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled that the family of an infant who was mistreated at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) can sue for more than the $200,000 allowed against public agencies.

The reasoning is that while the damage cap applies to OHSU, a public entity, it is unconstitutional to prevent the suit from seeking the full damages against the individual employees. The family of the boy, who suffered permanent brain damage in 1998 while in intensive care at OHSU Hospital, requested more than $17 million in the lawsuit to cover past and future medical expenses, lost earning capacity and pain and suffering.

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