The Florida Supreme Court last week struck down caps on pain-and-suffering damages in medical malpractice lawsuits.
In a 4-3 ruling, the Florida court found that limits passed in 2003 on non-economic damages violated equal protection rights under the state constitution.
The law set different limits on awards based on a variety of factors. The court majority said there is no evidence of a continuing liability insurance crisis justifying arbitrary discrimination between malpractice victims. The court's dissenters wrote that the majority was ignoring the legislature's fact-finding work and was overreaching its authority.
Nearly 30 states have laws limiting non-economic damages in malpractice cases, but courts in nearly a dozen states, including Illinois, Georgia, and Missouri, have overturned them.