The Kansas Supreme Court issued an opinion today ruling that non-economic damage caps provided for in K.S.A. 60-19a02 are unconstitutional.
For decades, Kansas has had caps on non-economic damages (pain and suffering, and other such damages that do not have a particularly clear dollar value). This statute required the District Court Judge to reduce any jury award over the cap back down to the damage cap range. Generally, the caps ranged from $250,000 to $325,000 depending on the year the action accrued. Over the years, various challenges have been made, unsuccessfully, to render these caps unconstitutional.
In today’s case, Hilburn v. Enerpipe, the Kansas Supreme Court has determined that the damage caps violate the jury’s right to determine the value of an injured party’s damages.
Unless and until further action is taken in the legislature (or if the Kansas Supreme Court reverses itself), from this day forward, Kansas law no longer supports a cap on non-economic damages.