Earlier this year the Florida Supreme Court made headlines when it revised part of a 2003 ruling that capped non-economic damages for medical malpractice cases at $500,000 or $1,000,000, depending on the particulars of the case. Declaring this unconstitutional, the court removed caps on non-economic damages in the case of wrongful death. Caps on non-economic damages still exist for medical malpractice cases that have been filed for other reasons.
Justices next week will hear arguments in a Miami-Dade County case that centers on a woman, Kimberly Ann Miles, who suffered complications in early 2003 after what she said was an unnecessary surgery on her leg. A jury awarded the woman and her husband $1.5 million in pain-and-suffering damages, but lower courts reduced that amount to $500,000 because of limits in the medical-malpractice law, which was passed later in 2003.
The Supreme Court is faced with deciding whether damage limits should apply to injuries suffered before the law took effect — a concept known as “retroactivity.” Miles and her husband, Jody Haynes, filed the lawsuit against physician Daniel Weingradin January 2006, nearly three years after the injury.
In 2002, the plaintiff was diagnosed with melanoma and needed to have a tumor removed. According to the suit, the defendant told her that the first procedure had not removed all of the melanoma and another surgery would be necessary. However, the suit further reports that upon later testing, the second surgery was not necessary. Because of this oversight, the plaintiff suffered an infection, which she needed to be hospitalized for. She also endured permanent damage.