|By Dion Lefler, The Wichita Eagle|
The court majority issued the ruling in a
Johnson preformed surgery on Miller in 2002, removing her left ovary instead of the right one that was the cause of her medical problems.
The trial court found the doctor fully at fault and awarded Miller a total of
The judgment was reduced to
While acknowledging that the cap does restrict the common-law right to compensation for damages, and that
"We hold that
The majority also said
"We hold that it is "reasonably conceivable" … that imposing a limit on noneconomic damages furthers the objective of reducing and stabilizing insurance premiums by providing predictability and eliminating the possibility of large noneconomic damages awards," the majority opinion said.
Two justices dissented from the majority decision,
"In my view, the majority fails to recognize the hollowness of the purported substitute here and neglects its responsibility to demand that even the illusory remedy be adequate, wrote Beier in her dissent. "In short, the cap and the other legislation relied upon by the majority take from injured Kansans; these measures give nothing in return."
Johnson's drew largely the same conclusion but expressed it in stronger terms.
"To state the obvious for us in the legal profession, the amount of noneconomic damages that will compensate a malpractice victim is determined by a jury composed of regular
"Unfortunately, the most affluent and advantaged people in our society often get what they want at the expense of the least fortunate among us whose voice is not loud enough to be heard," he added. "Today, in my view, this court has incorrectly and unnecessarily limited jury involvement and allowed a segment of unfairly burdened Kansans to drown while maintaining higher profits for insurance companies and lower expenses for doctors. Shame on us."
(c)2012 The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kan.)
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|Source:||McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|