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RPV Blasts Deeds for GOP-Backed Bill

Rosalind Helderman

The Republican Party of Virginia held a conference call this afternoon with physicians Del. John O'Bannon and delegate candidate Chris Stolle, as well several other doctors, to slam Democrat Creigh Deeds for sponsoring a 1999 bill that would have raised Virginia's cap on medical malpractice settlements from $1 million to $3 million.

"During our last real malpractice crisis, to triple the cap is just real bad judgment," O'Bannon said.

But here's something kind of interesting about that bill: Though co-sponsored by Deeds and then-delegate, now Democratic Party of Virginia Chairman C. Richard Cranwell, its chief sponsor was Republican Del. Terry Kilgore, brother of the GOP's last gubernatorial nominee, and himself a possible future Republican candidate for Congress.

Kilgore's bill was altered in committee to allow the cap to rise, but less quickly. That version of the bill -- in which the cap would rise immediately from $1 million to $1.5 million and then slowly over time to $2 million by 2009 -- also was supported by Deeds ... as well as fellow Courts of Justice Committee member and current Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell.

Both gubernatorial candidates supported a final bill that passed that year, which raised the cap to $1.5 million in 1999 and then allowed it to rise to $2 million by 2008.

McDonnell had previously criticized Deeds for this bill at the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce debate.

Terry Kilgore, who is supporting McDonnell, said he supported the bill at the behest of members of the Trial Lawyer's Association, who were concerned that the cap on settlements had not been raised in years. He said he put in the bill to start a conversation on the topic but does not remember any specific conversation with Deeds about it.

"This is that time of year, I guess," Kilgore said about the call criticizing his bill. "They've got to run their own campaign" he said of the RPV.

Jared Leopold, a spokesman for Deeds, said of the call: "The Republican Party of Virginia has grown so desperate that they're now attacking both Terry Kilgore and Bob McDonnell. It's no wonder they want to change the topic from Bob McDonnell's disastrous plan to take $5.4 billion from Virginia schools and his dead-on-arrival transportation scheme."

No one mentioned Kilgore's role during the RPV call. Asked afterward if their criticisms of Deeds apply equally to fellow party member Kilgore, party spokesman Tim Murtaugh said: "Certainly, we definitely disagreed with the intent of the bill.The fact of the matter is that it's Creigh Deeds running for governor not Terry Kilgore."

Of the final bill that passed in 1999 with McDonnell's vote, which allowed the cap to rise to $2 million, Murtaugh said: "It was a compromise that was struck -- it was half a loaf."

By Rosalind Helderman  |  October 1, 2009; 5:41 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Typical Republican drivel....

Posted by: DouginMountVernon | October 2, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

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