Tallahassee, Florida – In a 4-to-3 ruling, the Florida Supreme Court today affirmed the decision of the 4th District Court of Appeal that the statute establishing caps on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases is unconstitutional.
In its ruling, the Court said:“[T]he caps on noneconomic damages in sections 766.118(2) and (3) arbitrarily reduce damage awards for plaintiffs who suffer the most drastic injuries. We further conclude that because there is no evidence of a continuing medical malpractice insurance crisis justifying the arbitrary and invidious discrimination between medical malpractice victims, there is no rational relationship between the personal injury noneconomic damage caps in section 766.118 and alleviating this purported crisis. Therefore, we hold that the caps on personal injury noneconomic damages provided in section 766.118 violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Florida Constitution.”
On behalf of the Florida Justice Association, Interim Executive Director Paul Jess issued the following statement:“Today’s ruling by the Florida Supreme Court that state statutes establishing caps on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases is unconstitutional is a resounding victory for patients. This decision will promote safer health care in Florida and is a step forward that will enhance efforts to hold negligent health care providers responsible when they hurt patients.”# # #