Four days after the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously struck down the state’s damage caps in medical malpractice cases as unconstitutional, a Coffee County jury awarded Atlanta attorney Laura M. Shamp’s client $1.5 million in pain and suffering damages. It was a fortuitous stroke of timing, and a hefty verdict for an already disabled client who then lost a thumb when an IV needle leaked into his tissue.

“This was probably the first [verdict] to come down after that decision,” said Shamp in reference to the high court’s March 22 decision in Atlanta Ocuplastic Surgery v. Nestlehutt, which declared that legislative caps on non-economic damages in med-mal cases violated the constitutional right to trial by jury. “Otherwise, my damages would have been capped at $350,000.”

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