On July 31, 2012, the Supreme Court of Missouri overruled its own precedent set by Adams v. Children’s Hospital, rejecting a statute limiting the award of non-economic damages to plaintiffs, resulting in a victory for the family of a child born with severe brain damage due to medical negligence in Watts v. Lester E. Cox Medical Centers. The plaintiff will now receive the full $1.45 million in non-economic damages awarded by the jury, rather than the $350,000 ordained by the statutory cap.

The court’s decision is being hailed by many as a victory for the preservation of all citizens’ constitutional rights, as it is a matter of constitutional rights to have a jury determine the amount of damages in civil cases. Those who view the decision as a victory hope that the ruling will provide fuel and momentum to similar constitutional challenges in other states such as Kansas, Indiana, Mississippi, and Florida.

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