Oregon Healthcare Damage Limit, Measure 35 (2004)

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Oregon Health Care Damage Limit, Measure 35, was on the November 2, 2004 ballot in Oregon as an initiated constitutional amendment. It was defeated.

The measure proposed placing a limit on non-economic damages recoverable for patient injuries caused by healthcare providers through either negligence or recklessness.

Election results

Oregon Health Care Damage Limit, Measure 35 (2004)
Defeatedd No896,85750.79%
Yes 869,054 49.21%
Election results from Oregon Blue Book website, accessed December 16, 2013

Text of measure

Ballot title

The official ballot title for Measure 35 was:[1]

Amends Constitution: limits noneconomic damages (defined) recoverable for patient injuries caused by healthcare provider's negligence or recklessness.

Result of "Yes" vote: "Yes" vote limits of noneconomic damages (defined) or negligent or reckless injury to patient by healthcare provider to $500,000 (adjusted annually for inflation).

Result of "No" vote: "No" vote retains current law, which places no limit on injury of noneconomic damages (defined) for injury caused by negligence, recklessness of healthcare provider.[2]


Amends constitution. Under current law, there is generally no limit on jury's award of noneconomic damages to patient, patient's legal representative, or patient's spouse for injury caused by healthcare provider. Measure limits recovery of noneconomic damages for negligent or reckless injury caused by an Oregon licensed healthcare provider or healthcare entity to $500,000. Defines noneconomic damages to include pain; mental suffering; emotional distress; loss of society, companionship, services; loss of sexual relations; inconvenience; interference with normal and usual activities apart from employment. Specifies formula to adjust for inflation annually. Limitation applies regardless of extent of injuries, number of people entitled to damages, or number of defendants sued. Does not apply to wrongful death claims. Applies to suits filed after January 1, 2005. Other provisions.[1][2]

Financial impact

The estimated financial impact, according to the Oregon Voters' Pamphlet:[1]

"There is no financial effect on state or local government expenditures or revenues."

Full text

The full text of the legislation proposed by Measure 35 is available here.

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This historical ballot measure article requires that the text of the measure be added to the page.


The Yes on 35 campaign created a detailed slideshow (click to download) in support of the measure, arguing that "frivolous" lawsuits were hurting the health care system, causing insurance rates to go up, and forcing doctors to close their practices.

Many of those in the medical industry rallied around this measure. Some of the proponents included:[3]

  • Oregon Medical Association
  • Oregon Nurses Association
  • Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems
  • Oregon Health Care Association
  • Edward J. Gormley, Mayor of McMinnville


Opponents of this measure argued that the initiative keeps victims of malpractice from receiving their just rewards. Some argued that the measure would do nothing to keep the cost of medical care down because it only takes away patients' rights and does not crack down on negligent doctors who are creating the cost problems.

Some of the opponents included:[4]

  • AARP
  • Governor Theodore Kulongoski
  • Dr. Thomas Saddoris, Family Physician
  • Oregon State Fire Fighters Council
  • United Seniors of Oregon
  • Erin Brockovich
  • Representative Bob Jenson
  • Oregonians for Health Security
  • Miller and Wagner LLP Trial Lawyers[5]

See also

External links

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