No Liability Cap for OHSU Doctor | Oregon Damage Caps for Public Agencies

There once was a liability cap in Oregon of $200,000 for public agencies, including the Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU). The cap was increased last year to $1.5 million. Caught in the middle of the liability cap reform was Ken Ackerman, a former television host and current realtor, who had sued neurosurgeon Dr. Alex West of OHSU for negligence after a 2003 surgery caused permanent damage.

Ackerman won his lawsuit in 2006, but the amount of his award was in question–did it fall under the old liability cap of $200,000 or the new cap? The jury awarded Ackerman more than $1.4 million, $1 million in noneconomic damages and another $412,000 for economic losses. His lawsuit had asked for $5 million in damages.

This week the Oregon Court of Appeals upheld the ruling, stating that Dr. West was not protected by the previous liability cap, and determined that Ackerman is eligible for more than $1.4 million in damages. OHSU plans to appeal the decision.