In a 5-2 ruling last Thursday, March 13, the Florida Supreme Court voted to remove the cap on so-called noneconomic damages in a wrongful death case due to medical malpractice.
The case that changed the law was brought by the family of 20-year old Michelle McCall who bled to death following a cesarean section for the birth of her son in 2006. McCall was part of a military family and her estate sued the government because she was treated by U.S. Air Force medical staff. The federal judge agreed with the improper care allegation and awarded $2MM in noneconomic damages. However, per the 2003 legislative damage caps, the award was reduced to $1M.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the damage limits did not violate the U.S. Constitution but said the Florida Supreme Court should review state constitutional issues. The Florida Supreme Court heard the case in early 2012 and has spent more than 2 years reviewing it before rejecting the damage limits as arbitrary and unfair.
Unfortunately, this change in the law will not apply to victims whose cases were resolved between the 2003 law and the recent changes. The Florida Justice Association estimates there are more than 700 medical malpractice cases currently pending statewide.
Read the entire article here.
Advocate Capital, Inc. salutes the Florida Supreme Court for having the courage to do “the right thing” for those who pay the ultimate price due to medical negligence.
Will other states follow this example? We certainly hope so.
Senior Vice President
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