The members of a 2002 task force appointed by former Governor Jeb Bush are calling for a constitutional amendment in an effort to combat a Florida Supreme Court decision that struck down caps on certain medical malpractice awards. The task force members would like to place the malpractice caps on much more solid footing. The cap on non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, was recommended to the legislature and passed in 2003. The five individuals who served on that task force reached out to Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford on April 9 to speak about the proposed amendment. Voters would have to approve the proposed amendment. However, members of both chambers of the Florida Congress say the request comes too late in this year's legislative session; no action can be taken at this point.
The legislation that was enacted in 2003 placed a $500,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. The five task force members who signed the letter to the Senate President and House Speaker stated that the Florida Supreme Court decision left them in a "disheartening" position. The letter contained a request for legislators to put a constitutional amendment to the voters that would provide malpractice caps with constitutional authority and erase any questions about caps' constitutionality. Last month, the Florida Supreme Court held that the medical malpractice caps violate the guarantee of equal protection provided in the state's constitution.
Task force members urge malpractice cap amendment www.palmbeachpost.com April 15, 2014