(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the proceedings.)
Question: Are medical malpractice plaintiffs eligible to recover prejudgment interest on their jury award when their statutory offer to settle has been rejected?
A. Prejudgment Interest of $120,384.75:
Plaintiff is entitled to Prejudgment interest, at the rate of 10% per annum pursuant to Civil Code Section 3291. Prejudgment interest is calculated from November 24, 2003 [to February 4, 2005 (427 days)], which is the date of Plaintiff’s first C.C.P. Section 998 offer to compromise for $400,000, which was not accepted by the defendant KENNETH B., M., D. and was then exceeded by the jury’s verdict.
Plaintiff received a more favorable verdict against Dr. B., after the Code of Civil Procedure §998 offer. The present cash value of that verdict was $3,998,800, as found by the jury in its Special Verdict:
Ques. 3 (a): $ 53,300: Past Economic Loss.
(b): $145,500: Future Economic Loss
(C): $3.8 million for loss of love, companionship, training and guidance
B: Reduction Of Non-Economic Damages from $3.8 Million To $830,250:
The non-economic damages of $3.8 million is reduced to $830,250, which is the present value in 2005 dollars of the MICRA limitation provided for in Civil Code § 3333.2 of $250,000. The declaration of Peter Formuz has been provided, and it states that since the MICRA cap of $250,000 was first legislated in 1975, it has not kept up with either inflation or the cost of living in the ensuing 29 years; and, based on the CPI index, the purchasing power of money has diminished greatly since 1975.
Dr. Formuzis states that a judgment against a health care provider in 1975 for $250,000 in non-economic damages would require the sum of $830,250 in 2005 to provide the same purchasing power as $250,000 in 1975 dollars.
Thus, the decrease in purchasing power of the MICRA limitation of $250,000, without provision for any increase in over 29 years for the same injuries, constitutes an denial of equal protection under the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution and also due process under the 5th Amendment to the United States Constitution as well as the California Constitution, as a taking by operation of law.
C: The Failure To Account For Inflation and Loss of Purchasing Power With Respect To Non-Economic Damages Is A Denial of Both Due Process and Equal Protection Of The Laws:
Also, the failure to increase the limitations of Civil Code Section 3333.2 to account for inflation and decreased purchasing power for the past 29 years constitutes a denial of equal protection and discrimination against victims of medical malpractice as opposed to victims of other torts, who suffer no such limitation of decrease in the purchasing power of their awards. (See Part 3 of 4.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.