California’s much debated medical malpractice cap on noneconomic damages under MICRA recently withstood an appeal by a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case in that state. The appellate court struck down all of the plaintiff’s arguments in upholding the cap. Learn more in our blog.
California Medical Malpractice Cap Continues Despite Appeal
The cap was enacted 40 years ago under the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975 (MICRA). The cap limits noneconomic damages in cases of medical malpractice to no more than $250,000. Last year, a proposition that would have increased the cap to $1.1 million and enacted annual adjustments was defeated during elections in California.
The appeal came from a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case. "The plaintiff challenged the reduction of the amount of the noneconomic damages awarded to her by the jury on multiple constitutional grounds: as violating equal protecting, due process, and the right to jury trial." The plaintiff noted that inflation had devalued the cap by a factor of 4 since 1975.
The Appellate Court’s Ruling
The appellate court ruled against the plaintiff’s appeal on all grounds, including the violations of equal protection, due process, and the right to jury trial. The court also stated that the plaintiff had not demonstrated to the court that "the underlying circumstances that gave rise to the medical malpractice insurance problem that reached crisis proportions in the 1970’s no longer exist," according to medicalmalpracticelawyers.com.