In a case of national importance, the Missouri Supreme Court strikes dwon the cap on damages. Caps are the product of right wing tort deform movement to unfairly limit the rights of the wrongfully injured.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (7/31, Bernhard) reports, “The Missouri Supreme Court struck down on Tuesday a $350,000 limit on jury awards for ‘pain and suffering’ in medical malpractice cases, saying the law violates a patient’s right to a jury trial.” According to the Post-Dispatch, the cap on malpractice awards “was established by a 2005 state law that was championed by Republicans as part of a ‘tort reform’ push.” The court held in a 4-3 decision that the cap “infringes on the jury’s constitutionally protected purpose of determining the amount of damages sustained by an injured party.”
The AP (7/31) adds that “the ruling was praised by plaintiffs’ attorneys, who had opposed the 2005 law while warning that it could leave injured, ill and disabled residents without enough money to compensate them for their dramatically altered lifestyles.” Kansas City attorney Tim Dollar, president of the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys, is quoted as saying, “Everyone who believes in the constitution should be thrilled with this decision.”
The Springfield (MO) News-Leader (8/1, Okeson) reports that in the ruling, Chief Justice Richard Teitelman argued that the Missouri constitution established “the right to a trial by jury” and that “include[s] a jury’s deciding how much the damages would be.”