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A BOGUS MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CRISIS, DECLARES THE FLORIDA SUPREME COURT

A phony medical malpractice crisis was created in the State Legislature to increase insurance company profits, by enacting laws that created statutory caps on "non-economic damages" also referred to as "pain and suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, mental anguish and loss of capacity for enjoyment of life." The Florida Supreme Court found that these limits violate the right to equal protection under the Florida constitution. The Court said the damage caps unfairly single out the victims of medical negligence by capping their damage recoveries. "This inherently discriminatory action and resulting invidious discrimination do not pass constitutional muster."

Courts in Illinois, New Hampshire and at least seven other states have repealed caps on malpractice awards. The Florida case is Estate of McCall v. USA SC11-1148 (decided on March 13, 2014).

The Florida State Legislature's manufactured medical malpractice crisis in 2003 was "not fully supported by available data." There was a nationwide "tort reform" movement that arbitrarily reduced damages, regardless of the facts. The court found that the insurance industry experienced an underwriting cycle where the insurance companies faced a severe drop in their investment income. Their response was to sharply increase premiums and increase their profits.

Further the Florida Supreme Court said there was no evidence of an in increase in frivolous lawsuits nor excessive jury verdicts in Florida. Such a medical malpractice crisis was "dubious and questionable."

Did such damage caps help to stabilize the medical malpractice insurance rate? Absolutely not, as the law had no requirement that the insurance company pass on any savings to the physicians. Unfortunately, it appears that any savings from damage caps simply increased insurance company profits, the court ruled.

Robert Peck, the lawyer who won the Florida case is a friend and colleague of attorneys Richard Turbin and Rai Saint Chu.

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