Court nixes caps for pain, suffering


State News

June 17, 2019 - 10:09 AM

A Kansas law that caps jury awards for noneconomic damages — things like pain and suffering — violates the right to a trial by jury, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled on Friday.

“This is huge,” said attorney Thomas M. Warner Jr., who represented Diana K. Hilburn, the plaintiff in the case. “We’ve had these caps on the books since 1986 in Kansas. Basically, the politicians decided that they would be in a better position to determine the amount of damages for noneconomic damages than juries. And so this decision allows juries to make that decision again.”

Kansas is one of many states that have limited noneconomic damages, particularly in medical malpractice cases, out of concern that runaway jury awards cause skyrocketing insurance premiums and hurts the economy.

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