Today’s Victories in the Florida Supreme Court

Medical Malpractice Caps

The Florida Supreme Court released the McCall v. The United States of America, [read the decision] decision today, holding the 2003 caps on noneconomic damages in wrongful death medical malpractice cases unconstitutional.

I would like to thank our leaders from 2003 who spent countless hours covering the statewide hearings of the Governor’s Task Force and in the Florida Legislature through the regular and several special sessions – especially:

President Howard Coker (2002-2003), President Richard Shapiro (2003-2004), and Former Presidents Neal Roth and Lake Lytal, Jr. who lead the task force and the constitutional challenge efforts.

We have many individuals and groups to thank for their support of our efforts to hold these caps unconstitutional, including building a record in the Governor’s Task Force on Healthcare Professional Liability Insurance and the Florida Legislature in 2002 and 2003 and guiding us through and working with us on this litigation at the trial court level as well through appeal to the Florida Supreme Court.

We would like to thank local trial counsel, Henry T. Courtney and Sara Courtney-Baigorri and Steve S. Poche for their excellent work on this case on behalf of the McCall family.

Special thanks to Linda Lipsen of the American Association for Justice for their significant support and the incredible work of Robert S. Peck and Valerie M. Nannery of the Center for Constitutional Litigation. 

We applaud the outstanding contributions of the attorneys who submitted Amicus Briefs in support of the McCall’s: Lincoln J. Connolly, Barbara W. Green, John S. Mills, Andrew D. Manko, Stephen N. Zack, Herman J. Russomanno, and George S. Christian.

The hearts and minds of all of us are always with the victims of medical malpractice and today justice was done.

Compulsory CMEs

The Court also decided State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Robin Curran [read the decision]. In this opinion, the court ruled that attending a compulsory CME under an insurance policy is not a condition precedent to coverage, that the failure to attend a CME breaches the policy and voids coverage only if it prejudices the insurer, and the insurer has the burden of proving prejudice. The Court declined to remand for prejudice determination, finding that the record showed that the carrier was not prejudiced.  I would like to thank trial counsel O. John Alpizar of Alpizar Law, LLC and Gary M. Farmer, Sr. of Farmer Jaffe Weissing Edwards Fistos & Lehrman, P.L. and Bard Rockenbach of Burlington & Rockenbach, P.A. for submitting an Amicus Brief.