The Est. of Evette McCall et al. v. The United States if America

 


(1) DOES THE STATUTORY CAP ON NONECONOMIC DAMAGES, FLA. STAT. § 766.118, VIOLATE THE RIGHT TO EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER ARTICLE I, SECTION 2 OF THE FLORIDA CONSTITUTION?- 2 –

(2) DOES THE STATUTORY CAP ON NONECONOMIC DAMAGES, FLA. STAT. § 766.118, VIOLATE THE RIGHT OF ACCESS TO THE COURTS UNDER ARTICLE I, SECTION 21 OF THE FLORIDA CONSTITUTION?

(3) DOES THE STATUTORY CAP ON NONECONOMIC DAMAGES, FLA. STAT. § 766.118, VIOLATE THE RIGHT TO TRIAL BY JURY UNDER ARTICLE I, SECTION 22 OF THE FLORIDA CONSTITUTION?

(4) DOES THE STATUTORY CAP ON NONECONOMIC DAMAGES, FLA. STAT. § 766.118, VIOLATE THE SEPARATION OF POWERS GUARANTEED BY ARTICLE II, SECTION 3 AND ARTICLE V, SECTION 1 OF THE FLORIDA CONSTITUTION?

Id. at 952-53. Because this case involves a wrongful death, we rephrase the first certified question as follows:


DOES THE STATUTORY CAP ON WRONGFUL DEATH NONECONOMIC DAMAGES, FLA. STAT. § 766.118, VIOLATE THE RIGHT TO EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER ARTICLE I, SECTION 2 OF THE FLORIDA CONSTITUTION?

As explained below, we answer the first rephrased certified question in the affirmative and hold that the cap on wrongful death noneconomic damages provided in section 766.118, Florida Statutes, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Florida Constitution. We find it unnecessary to answer the remaining certified questions because Florida’s Wrongful Death Act is of statutory origin, and the present case is under the Federal Tort Claims Act and its procedures.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

In its opinion, the Eleventh Circuit detailed the facts regarding the legal – 3 –

action filed by the estate of Michelle McCall, Ms. McCall’s parents, and the father of Ms. McCall’s son (Petitioners)

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