West Virginia Supreme Court Fails to Strike-Down Damage Caps

The high court in West Virginia has refused to vacate legislation that placed a cap on damages for non-economic loss in medical negligence cases. 

In McDonald v. City Hospital, Inc., No. 35543 (W.Va. 6/22/2011) the court ruled that the West Virginia Constitution did not limit the power of the Legislature to impose arbitrary limits on damages.

Here are the provisions of the West Virginia Constitution that were at issue in the case:

 

 
Article III, Section 13 of the Constitution of West Virginia provides, in pertinent 
part: 
 
In suits at common law, . . . the right of trial by jury, if required 
by either party, shall be preserved. . . . No fact tried by a jury 
shall be otherwise reexamined in any case than according to the 
rule of court or law. 
 
Article V, Section 1 of the West Virginia Constitution states: 
The legislative, executive and judicial departments shall be 
separate and distinct, so that neither shall exercise the power 
properly belonging to either of the others; nor shall any person 
exercise the powers of more than one of them at the same time, 
except that justices of the peace shall be eligible to the 
legislature