TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

USSC Declines to Review NE's Med Mal Damages Cap

Nebraska has one of the few caps in the nation that is applied to total, as opposed to non-economic, damages in med mal cases.  In August 2015, a jury awarded the family of a brain-damaged infant $17M in damages.  Pursuant to the cap, the trial judge reduced the award to $1.75M.  Last June, the Eighth Circuit unanimously affirmed the trial judge.  On Monday, the United States Supreme Court declined to hear the case.  The family had argued the cap is unconstitutional:

The Eighth Circuit’s ruling contravened the Supreme Court’s 1998 holding in Feltner v. Columbia Pictures, which gives juries, rather than a trial judge, the authority to determine damages, Schmidt contended. 

Further, the Seventh Amendment’s constitutional right to a jury trial should be made applicable to the states through the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, Schmidt argued. She drew a parallel to the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in McDonald v. City of Chicago, in which the justices applied the right of gun ownership to the states, and by extension local governments, that attempted to ban handguns.

Law 360 has the story.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/tortsprof/2017/12/ussc-declines-to-review-nes-med-mal-damages-cap.html

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