A class action lawsuit filed in Eastern District of Texas argues that the 2003 Tort Reform Act limiting non-economic damages is unconstitutional. The Tort Reform Act overhauled civil litigation in Texas by placing a cap on non-economic damages. The bill has been a source of controversy since its induction. The bill does not place a cap on economic losses including medical expenses and loss of income, but limits the amount that can be awarded to a plaintiff for intangible harms such as severe pain, physical and emotional distress, disfigurement, loss of the enjoyment of life that an injury has caused, including sterility, loss of sexual organs, physical impairment and loss of a loved one among other damages. According to the complaint the bill violates several provisions of the Constitution. The alleged violations include provisions of the First, Seventh, Fifth, and the Fourteenth amendment.
The suit filed in Marshall on Feb. 25 states that proposed class members will include all Texas individuals injured because of negligent medical treatment since the enactment of the reform measures and future injured individuals. As defendants, the suit names health care providers who seek to enforce the damage cap and more than 600 Texas civil trial court judges who are required to enforce the damage limits.
The Center for Constitutional Litigation and other plaintiffs’ attorneys throughout the state will represent the class. The lawsuit names 11 pending cases that would likely be affected by the current damages cap. The class suit could have a huge impact on civil litigation in Texas. Judge T. John Ward has been assigned to preside over the litigation.