The Missouri House had floor debate last week on Rep. Eric Burlison’s proposal to unconstitutionally limit malpractice awards against negligent doctors. Burlison, you will recall, is the politician who compared the family of a brain damaged baby to PowerBall winners.
There are many reasons to oppose caps like those proposed by Burlison. But Burlison’s Republican colleague, Sheila Solon, articulated on the House floor perhaps the first and best reason to oppose these caps:
To speak on the bill. Mr. Speaker sometimes we need to stand up and share with each other our reasons for opposing ab ill and not just push a button. I respect the concerns of the bill sponsor and those supporting putting caps back in place for medical malpractice lawsuits. But I support the Missouri Supreme Court Decision that placing a cap of $350,000 on malpractice is a violation of our constitutional right of a trial by a jury of our peers. And Missouri is not the only state to determine that it is unconstitutional… 14 other states have ruled it unconstitutional and 7 additional states are facing court challenges. I support our constitution and I believe that arbitrary caps to remove a jury’s ability to decide the magnitude and degree of damages is wrong for Missouri. Each case is different and I have faith in juries and our judicial system… and I have faith in people.
But the biggest reason why I oppose this bill is because I believe in the sanctity of human life. I applaud our efforts to protect the life of the unborn…. I believe… you cannot place a price tag on the life of anyone. But if we put caps back in place we are saying a life is worth no more than $350,000. Not only that but we are also saying that some lives are more valuable than others. Your value will solely be based on your lost wages and future earnings. If you are a baby, child, disabled or a senior citizen your life is not as valuable. I believe every life is unique and precious and that is why I will be voting against this bill.
– Rep. Sheila Solon
Trial lawyers have the honor and privilege to represent real people every day. We fight for the injured. We fight for the sick. We fight for the widow. We fight for the orphan. We fight for those who can no longer fight for themselves.
We fight every day for the sanctity of life.
Thank you, Rep. Solon, for speaking up for those who cannot speak up for themselves. Thank you looking past the talking points and the politics and seeing what really matters… people. I hope more of our representatives and senators take a second look at this and other tort reform legislation in light of your powerful words.
Let’s do what’s right and protect what matters most.
© Copyright 2014 Brett A. Emison
Follow @BrettEmison on Twitter.
Brett Emison is currently a partner at Langdon & Emison, a firm dedicated to helping injured victims across the country from their primary office near Kansas City. Mainly focusing on catastrophic injury and death cases as well as complex mass tort and dangerous drug cases, Mr. Emison often deals with automotive defects, automobile crashes, railroad crossing accidents (train accidents), trucking accidents, dangerous and defective drugs, defective medical devices.