Last week the Florida Supreme Court struck Florida’s non-economic damages caps in medical malpractice lawsuits. Here is the Court’s 96-page decision.
The Court took a hard look at the alleged medical malpractice crisis that justified the caps and concluded that if the crisis ever existed, it does not anymore:
Thus, even if there had been a medical malpractice crisis in Florida at the turn of the century, the current data reflects that it has subsided. No rational basis currently exists (if it ever existed) between the cap imposed…and any legitimate state purpose…At the present time, the cap on noneconomic damages serves no purpose other than to arbitrarily punish the most grievously injured or their surviving family members. Moreover, it has never been demonstrated that there was a proper predicate for imposing the burned of supporting the Florida legislative scheme upon the discrimination against Florida families is not rational or reasonable when it attempts to utilize aggregate caps to create unreasonable classifications.
The court also noted an Oklahoma decision finding that an unanticipated result of cap statutes has been the creation of a windfall for insurance companies, since they don’t have to pass the tort-reform savings on to purchasers of liability insurance.
This is interesting, but will not affect Mississippi. The Mississippi Supreme Court had the chance to weigh in on caps and passed, which effectively upheld Mississippi’s caps.
It’s kind of funny to see the language that it’s unanticipated that the insurance companies are keeping the profits from caps. That’s exactly what tort reform opponents said was going to happen. No one cared.
Caps were sold on a false premise. The public justifications were just for show. Anyone with a clue knew what the score really was. The money wanted the caps. And in American politics, the money is almost always going to get what it wants.
If you know someone who was a true believer in the rationale for caps, then you might want to interest them in some ocean front property in Arizona.