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Washington Negligent Healthcare Act, Initiative 330 (2005)

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The Washington Negligent Health Care Act, Initiative 330 was on the November 8, 2005 election ballot in Washington as an Initiative to the Legislature, where it was defeated.

The objective of the measure was to limit non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases to $350,000, limit attorney fees, and make other changes to healthcare liability laws.

Election results

Washington Initiative 330 (2005)
Defeatedd No1,027,11756.7%
Yes 783,435 43.3%

Election Results via: Washington Secretary of State

Coppernoll v. Reed

A pre-emptive legal challenge from opponents sought to have the measure removed from the ballot before it could be voted on. In the case of Coppernoll v. Reed, the Washington Supreme Court kept it on the ballot, saying that the time for constitutional challenges to ballot initiatives is if and when they pass, not before.


An example of public opinion opposed to Initiative 330:

"This initiative is a horror. It contains numerous provisions that are repugnant to anyone who believes that individuals should have right of redress to the law. First and foremost it allows medical providers to demand binding arbitration which in effect denies access to our legal system to anyone who must do business with those providers (e.g. veterans, anyone covered by company health plans, etc.). It also guts compensation for pain and suffering to $350,000 which is nothing given some of the malpractice horrors that have been committed. It also adds in such odious terms as removing the exemption to the statue of limitations for patients who are incompetent. In other words, a doctor could screw up, throw a patient into a coma for years and the patient could come out of it only to find out they have no legal redress because the statue of limitations expired while they were unconscious due to the doctor's incompetence! This initiative would also restrict pay outs that lawyers can get. This seems like a good thing to stop 'greedy' lawyers but in reality all it will do is restrict access to our legal system only to those people who have trivial cases or lots of money to pay for their own attorneys. Poor people with difficult cases will be denied access to the legal system because the potential reward for the lawyer simply isn't there. This initiative is disgusting and the fact that it made it on the ballot strongly indicates that there is something seriously wrong with our system of getting initiatives onto ballots."[1]

Path to the ballot

The language for I-330 was filed on June 17, 2004 by Dr. Jeffrey B. Collins of Olympia. Its supporters collected 319,146 signatures to qualify it for consideration by the Washington State Legislature. The legislature declined to enact I-330 and it was referred to a statewide vote of the people.

See also

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