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14 Elder L.J. 331 (2006)
Neglecting the Neglected: The Impact of Noneconomic Damage Caps on Meritorious Nursing Home Lawsuits

handle is hein.journals/elder14 and id is 335 raw text is: NEGLECTING THE NEGLECTED: THE
Michael L. Rustad
Meritorious nursing home lawsuits serve as valuable tools for policing a nursing
home industry rife with instances of negligence, malpractice, neglect, and abuse.
Recent proposals advocate a national cap of $250,000 on all noneconomic damages
awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits. Many states have already adopted similar
caps. In this empirical study of three hot-spot jurisdictions (California, Texas, and
Florida), Professor Rustad shows the disparate effect of noneconomic damage caps on
the elderly residents of nursing homes due to the general lack of meaningful economic
damages among typical nursing home claimants.      Noneconomic damage caps
effectively doom many elder abuse and mistreatment claims by removing incentives
for attorneys to accept these meritorious lawsuits.
Professor Michael L. Rustad, Ph.D., J.D., LL.M., is the Co-Director of the Intellectual
Property Law Concentration at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, Massachu-
Thanks to Thomas H. Koenig of Northeastern University who helped me with con-
structing the charts in this article. I am grateful to Suffolk University Law students
David Coughlin, Shannon Downey, Kara Fratto, and Conway Kennedy for their able
research assistance. I would also like to thank Diane D'Angelo, a Suffolk University
Law School reference librarian, for assisting me in locating verdicts and other materi-
als. Thanks also to Chryss J. Knowles for editorial assistance. I would also like to
thank Eugene Garmize, Alex Chase, and The Elder Law Journal staff for editorial assis-

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