Leading up to the case of Estate of McCall v. United States, 134 So. 3d 894 (Fla. 2014), Michelle McCall received prenatal care at a United States Air Force clinic.  Unfortunately, she later died from severe blood loss resulting from the birth of her child.  Plaintiffs filed an action against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act.  The trial court found that the United States was liable under the FTCA, calculating the associated economic damages at over $980,000, and Plaintiff’s noneconomic damages at a total of $2 million.  However, pursuant to the medical malpractice cap on noneconomic damages, the Plaintiff’s recovery was reduced to $1 million.

Plaintiffs appealed the reduction, challenging the constitutionality of Florida’s medical malpractice cap.  The Florida Supreme Court subsequently held that the statutory cap on wrongful death noneconomic damages violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Florida Constitution.

Yesterday, the Fourth District Court of Appeals issued an opinion expanding the Florida Supreme Court’s holding in McCall, stating that caps on damages in medical negligence and personal injury actions are also unconstitutional.  The Court stated in pertinent part “…caps are unconstitutional not only in wrongful death actions, but also in personal injury suits as they violate equal protection.”

This ruling is a win for any victim who is in the unenviable position of having suffered a severe traumatic personal injury; received negligent medical care resulting in an injury; or someone who is the survivor of the victim of a wrongful death.  It is crucial that these victims be able to recover adequately, and their compensation not be dictated by a faraway legislature, but instead by a jury of their peers who are intimately acquainted with the individual case presented before them. 

For discussion on this important topic, or any other, feel free to contact the experienced attorneys at the Schulman Law Group at (954) 349-3300 or at info@www.schulaw.com