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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A state district judge has ruled that North Dakota’s law limiting damages in medical malpractice cases is unconstitutional.

The Bismarck Tribune reports the ruling came in a case involving a Fort Yates woman who suffered a disabling stroke due to a botched surgery at a Bismarck hospital. A jury last April awarded 35-year-old Chenille Condon $3.5 million.

South Central District Judge Cynthia Feland has denied a motion from CHI St. Alexius Health to reduce the jury’s verdict under a law that puts a $500,000 limit on damages for such things as suffering and emotional distress.

Feland ruled the law violates equal protection guaranteed by the state constitution by arbitrarily reducing damages for people who suffer the most severe injuries.

CHI St. Alexius Health says it’s exploring legal options.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com