In March the Arizona Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a 2005 law establishing minimum qualifications for medical liability expert witnesses who testify in. The court rejected arguments from the state trial bar that it was up to the courts — not lawmakers — to set rules governing expert witness testimony and that the statute violated the separation of powers between the legislature and the judiciary. The opinion states:
Although we maintain plenary power over procedural rules, we do not believe that power precludes the legislature from addressing what it believes to be a serious substantive problem — the effects on public health of increased medical malpractice insurance rates and the reluctance of qualified physicians to practice here — by effectively increasing the plaintiff’s burden of production in medical malpractice actions.
Amednews.com reports: “Because Arizona’s constitution prohibits any type of cap on damages in liability cases, “this is a very important decision for us,” said Chic Older, Arizona Medical Assn. executive vice president.