Kansas officially joined the list of fundamentally fair states and ruled that caps on damages are unconstitutional since they violate Article 5 of the Kansas Constitution where the constitution provides, “The right to trial by jury shall be inviolate.” The decision came out on June 14, 2019 from the Kansas Supreme Court. The case is Hillburn v. Enerpipe Ltd., Opinion number 112,765.
The Kansas Supreme Court held that Section 5 of the Kansas Constitutional Bill of Rights provides that the right of trial by jury shall be inviolate holding that K.S.A. 60-19a02 constitutionally violates the rights that are protected by Section 5 because the limiting statute creating caps or limits on noneconomic damages intrudes upon the jury’s determination of the compensation that is owed to a personal injury plaintiff to redress their injuries.
Basically, the Kansas Supreme Court determined that the noneconomic losses from a personal injury case had the effect of disturbing the jury’s finding of fact on the amount of any award for damages to personal injury victims. The Court importantly held that the constitutional provision deprived the Legislature of a power to limit or cap noneconomic losses such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, disability, disfigurement, loss of time, loss of enjoyment of life and other noneconomic losses.
This historic case will change Kansas forever making it a more progressive state to try personal injury cases in and restores constitutional rights to the citizens that the legislature wrongfully took away many years ago.