KY Supreme Court takes on medical review panel case

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - The Kentucky Supreme Court will hear a case challenging legislation that created review panels for medical malpractice claims.

Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd ruled the law unconstitutional in October after reviewing a suit brought by a Breckenridge County woman. She alleged her child suffered birth-related injuries in 2014 that led to cerebral palsy and argued the legislation, passed by the General Assembly earlier this year, kept her from filing a malpractice suit.

The Bevin administration sought the Court of Appeals to stay the ruling until the case was heard, and was granted the request in early November.

Both sides sought to expedite the matter by transferring the case directly to the state Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Minton signed the order on Wednesday agreeing to the transfer.

The order also set an expedited schedule for briefing justices on the case. The Bevin administration has until Jan. 8 to file a brief. The plaintiffs have until Feb.11 to respond. The administration's reply brief, if any, must be filed 10 days later.

The bill, SB 4, was filed by Sen. Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester, a practicing physician. According to the law, a medical malpractice complaint must first be submitted to the state Medical Review Panels Branch of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services before a claim is brought to a Kentucky court.

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