In a 4-to-3 ruling, the Florida Supreme Court today affirmed the decision of the Fourth District Court of Appeal that the Florida statute establishing caps on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice personal injury cases is unconstitutional.
In its ruling, the Court wrote:
[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.
Today’s ruling by the Florida Supreme Court that state statutes establishing caps on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice personal injury cases are unconstitutional is a resounding victory for patients. This is a step forward that will promote safer health care in Florida.
The Florida Justice Association wants to thank everyone who was involved in this case on behalf of the patient, and especially:
- Crane A. Johnstone and Scott P. Schlesinger of Schlesinger Law Offices, P.A., Fort Lauderdale, Florida, who brought the case;
- Phil Burlington and Nichole J. Segal of Burlington & Rockenbach, P.A., West Palm Beach, Florida, who handled the appeal and oral argument; and
- Tracy Raffles Gunn of Gunn Appellate Practice, P.A., Tampa, Florida, who wrote the Amicus Curiae for the Florida Justice Association.