Under existing state law the Oregon Health Sciences University, with its teaching-hospital mission, enjoys substantial protection from malpractice liability, which is capped at a low level. Trial lawyers and others have for some time been campaigning against this immunity and now a three-judge state appeals panel has decided to crown this campaign with victory, with no tiresome need, of course, to muster the votes for any actual legislative action to lift the immunity. Last month the court decreed that even if the immunity protects the hospital system itself, it does not protect individual doctors and nurses for being sued for unlimited damages. Since OHSU will need to make sure that its staff is protected against loss of personal assets, there goes the force of the immunity. The Oregonian reports here, a one-sided earlier press account can be found at KATU, and the appeals court opinion is here.
Oregon court guts public liability limits