Florida Supreme Court Rules Medical Malpractice Caps Unconstitutional
Today, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the artificial caps on non-economic damages in wrongful death, medical malpractice cases is unconstitutional. Estate of McCall v. USA. Specifically, the Court held that the damages limitation violated Florida’s Equal Protection Clause. “(T)he statutory cap . . . fails because it imposes unfair and illogical burdens . . . when an act of negligence gives rise to multiple claimants. Further, the . . .cap . . . does not bear a rational relationship to the stated purpose that the cap is purported to address, the alleged medical malpractice insurance crisis in Florida.” In a footnote, the court limited this decision to the wrongful death context – that is, where someone dies from medical malpractice and the surviving family is recovering for the loss of that relationship. The court did not analyze the constitutionality of the caps when it came to someone who is seriously injured or left paralyzed, for example, due to medical malpractice. But this new opinion will certainly serve as precedent for that next challenge.
At P&D, we believe that the jury is in the best position to award the correct amount of damages for any case. Our court system is built on the jury system. We are the envy of the world because we let citizens decide actual cases. Artificially capping someone’s damages before the damage even happened is an arbitrary pre-judgment on the matter. Today, the Florida Supreme Court took a step in the right direction, restoring the jury’s full role in our civil justice system. We also applaud the Supreme Court’s discrediting of the purported insurance crisis in Florida. That myth has been debunked repeatedly with facts, statistics, and logic.
Click here to read the full Supreme Court opinion.