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Florida Supreme Court Rules Medical Malpractice Award Caps Unconstitutional

Posted by Michelle Flaat on Jul 27, 2017 1:45:20 PM

On June 8, 2017, the Florida Supreme Court ruled on the Medical Malpractice Award Cap stating it was unconstitutional in the North Broward Hospital District, et al v. Kalitan case.  In a 4-3 ruling, the state’s highest court affirmed the Fourth District Court of Appeal's 2015 decision finding the cap, established by Section 766.118 of the Florida Statutes, unfairly hurt those most severely injured by doctors mistakes.  This ruling was heavily based on the 2014 ruling in The Estate of McCall v. USA.  Both the decisions in Kalitan and McCall disregard the Select Task Force on Healthcare Professional Liability Insurance that was appointed by then Gov. Jeb Bush in 2002.

The Supreme Court noted that the plurality opinion in McCall found that Section 766.118 has the effect of “saving a modest amount for many by imposing devastating costs on the most grievously injured” and concluded that reducing damages for the most injured “is not only arbitrary but irrational and offends the fundamental notion of equal justice under the law.”  The Kalitan case was brought about due to an outpatient surgery in 2007 in the North Broward Hospital District to treat plaintiff Susan Kalitan's carpal tunnel syndrome. The surgery required general anesthesia, and during intubation, her esophagus was perforated, according to court documents.

A jury found in her favor and awarded $4,718,011 in total damages, including noneconomic damages of $2 million for past pain and suffering and $2 million for future pain and suffering. The trial judge reduced the noneconomic damages by close to $2 million because of the statutory cap and cut the damages by another $1.3 million, as the hospital's share of the liability was capped at $100,000 because of its status as a sovereign entity.

To read more about the Florida Supreme Court ignoring market history you can click the link below:

Florida High Court Med Mal Award Cap Ruling Ignores Market History

How do you feel yourMalpractice insurancestacks up? Do you feel these caps have the possibility of affecting you? For more information on how ECMA can help increase your protection and help lower your premiums contact us today.

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Topics: Medical Malpractice, Continuing Medical Education

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