On March 13, the Florida Supreme Court overturned the centerpiece of the 2003 medical malpractice overhaul law. In the opinion the court strongly criticized the Florida Legislature and even went so far as to accuse them of creating an “alleged medical malpractice crisis.”
The justices ruled in the 5-2 opinion that Florida’s controversial 2003 medical malpractice reform violated survivors’ equal protection rights, because hard caps on noneconomic damages were limited to no more than $1 million in the event of a death or permanent vegetative state — regardless of the number of practitioners or survivors.
The 2003 law limited individual family members to damages not determined by the actual pain and suffering they endured but rather by how many other relatives were also entitled to part of the $1 million in noneconomic damages. When multiple parties were found at fault the burden was even further lessened – regardless of severity – because there were more parties to contribute toward the damage award.