On Wednesday, Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal upheld the constitutionality of a damage cap in medical malpractice cases tied to an arbitration system.
The three-judge panel ordered a reduction to $350,00 from $450,000 in a Miami-Dade malpractice suit, Deborah DeFranko vs. Taylor Poole and the practice Poole & Villani, P.A.
In a lower court, a circuit judge ruled that two parts of state law dealing with damage caps were an unconstitutional violation of equal-protection rights. They dealt with instances where defendants offer arbitration, but plaintiffs reject and go to trial.
Non-economic damages in these cases are presently capped at $350,000.
The decision written by Judge Vance Salter and Chief Judge Kevin Emas and Judge Monica Gordo, upheld a separate judgment awarding $50,000 to DeFranko’s husband but did not detail malpractice allegations.