An Illinois judge recently struck down the two-year-old state law that capped medical malpractice awards, ruling that the law violates the Illinois constitution’s “separation of powers” clause by depriving judges and juries of their right to determine fair compensation. The unreported decision, handed down in the Circuit Court of Cook County, relied heavily upon a 1997 Illinois Supreme Court decision that struck down a similar statute passed in 1995. The 2005 statute, however, is more narrowly focused on malpractice awards, whereas its 1995 predecessor attempted to cap pain and suffering in all civil cases. Defense attorneys – including former Solicitor General Theodore Olsen – have reportedly vowed to appeal the decision directly to the Illinois Supreme Court.