Caps on non-economic damages in personal injury medical malpractice cases are unconstitutional as they violate the equal protection clause of the Florida Constitution

This is a medical malpractice action where the patient suffered injuries as a result of the defendants’ negligence when she underwent a carpal tunnel surgery that required anesthesia. The jury awarded the patient $4 million in non-economic damages. The trial court reduced the non-economic damages award to $2 million under the non-economic damages caps pursuant to §766.118, Florida Statutes. The appellate court reversed, concluding that the caps were unconstitutional. The court noted that so long as the caps discriminate between classes of medical malpractice victims as they do in a personal injury context, the damages are unconstitutional pursuant to the Florida Supreme Court’s decision in McCall. This is the first appellate decision to apply McCall outside of the wrongful death context. To see the full opinion, follow this link: North Broward Hospital v. Klaitan, 2015 WL 3973075 (Fla. 4th DCA July 1, 2015).