Arizona Constitution which clearly spells out that lawmakers cannot revoke the right of anyone to recover damages for injuries.
Capitol Media Services
The state Court of Appeals has struck down a bid by Republican lawmakers to immunize doctors and hospitals from claims they acted negligently in treating patients during the COVID outbreak.
In a unanimous decision, the three-judge panel said the 2021 law runs afoul of a provision of the Arizona Constitution which clearly spells out that lawmakers cannot revoke the right of anyone to recover damages for injuries. That same language bars any statute that caps the amount of damages someone who sues successfully can recover.
The new ruling most immediately affects anyone who claims they were injured by a medical provider who was furnishing care for virus suffers between March 11, 2020 when Gov. Doug Ducey declared a state of emergency and March 30, 2022 when he terminated it. Pushed by a lobbyist for the company that insures most Arizona doctors, it was designed to provide them protection from lawsuits.
It is not immediately known how many malpractice cases were filed during that time period. But if nothing else, unless the ruling is overturned it will mean there is no similar protection for doctors and hospitals the next time a governor declares a public health emergency.
But the ruling could have far broader implications.