The Supreme Court of Utah struck down the Agency Pre-Approval Law for Medical Malpractice claims:
In a recent report, it was held that the Supreme Court of Utah (the Court)has struck down the law with regards to the pre-approval of medical malpractice claims. The Court has unanimously struck down the state law which required medical malpractice plaintiff for obtaining a ‘certificate of compliance’ from the state agency. The Court further ruled that the law, also known as the Malpractice Act, as unconstitutional since it is in violation of the doctrine of separation of powers hence limiting the judiciary’s role.
In Utah, the certificate of compliance is to be issued upon the review of the malpractice claims by the Utah’s Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL) and further determines whether it has any merit. In the event, the claim is rejected by the DOPL, the plaintiffs can continue to receive the certificate upon the attestation of the claims by the expert appointed.
In a similar case, the alleged providers of health care caused the death of a man, who suffered stroke and dies few weeks after the surgery took place. The spouse of that man obtained a certificate of compliance from the DOPL which was later on denied and she filed a suit. The case was dismissed in the trial court where the trial court stated that the plaintiff failed to comply with the Malpractice Act which was subsequently appealed.
The Court remanded and reversed the case and the Malpractice Act was ruled as unconstitutional. The Court cited the doctrine of separation of powers.