There is currently pending an initiative for the 2020 California statewide ballot.  At the present time, the sponsors have submitted the language of an initiative which would finally index the 1975 $250,000 cap to the intervening 45 years of inflation which has eroded its value.  Presumably, the appellant initiative, if passed, would raise the pain-and-suffering limit to approximately $1.3 million and that would apply to all cases that are pending when it takes effect sometime probably in November 2020.

The sponsor of the ballot is the well-established and highly respected Consumer Watchdog organizationYou can read about MICRA here.

It is my understanding that the ballot initiative will be soliciting signatures so that it can be placed on the November 2020 ballot for the voters to decide to update this pro-special interests and anti-victim law.  You should feel free, if possible, to encourage your family and friends to help with that ballot initiative.  Consumer Watchdog is always looking for volunteers and for people to donate whatever they can towards the cause of protecting victims of malpractice and other mistreated consumers. 

The insurance companies and the doctors’ lobbies are themselves gathering huge amounts of money to defeat this well-designed proposition.  The insurance companies and the doctors' lobbies raised almost $60 million in special interest money – one of the largest political slush funds in California history – and flooded the television airways with a tidal wave of deceptive advertising – another MICRA-related ballot initiative in 2014; Consumer Watchdog and its allies raised less than $13 million.

Anything that you can do to help them would be appreciated.(On the personal note: in 2014, there was another MICRA -related ballot initiative known as Proposition 46.  In that year, Consumer Watchdog and its allies raised approximately $13 million; the lobbyists raised almost $60 million – one of the largest campaign slush funds in California history – and flooded the airways with misleading advertisements about side issues, thus defeating the initiative. 

In 1974, the doctors’ and insurance companies’ lobbies passed a law in California only that limits victims of medical malpractice to $250,000 for pain-and-suffering, no matter how much pain or suffering was involved.  Technically, the juries – who were generally not told about this law – could award any amount, but since 1975, all of the judges have been reducing the pain-and-suffering verdicts to $250,000.  This law is a perfect example of effective lobbying the state legislature by the special interests.

The law, which has a number of anti-victim provisions (including harsh limitations on the attorney’s fees to ensure that few attorneys will accept medical malpractice cases), is known as the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act or, more commonly, MICRA.  This law remains in effect today without change after 45 years.   You can read about MICRA here.

This law was designed to discriminate against victims of malpracticing doctors – no other injury victims have any such limitations.  Moreover, since the law does not limit economic damages, this law is, by design, discriminatory against non-wager victims, such as children, students, seniors or stay-at-home parents.  Because our society has historically paid less to women and minorities, the limitation on pain-and-suffering discriminates against those women and minorities as well.  This was not a “bug” in the law, but the special interests' intention to discriminate and provide doctors – and only doctors – with the benefit of limiting the recovery of their victims.

This limitation is well-known and a daily feature of any negotiations or participation in medical malpractice cases.  It is almost unheard-of, for example, for an insurance company to settle any case, no matter how bad the pain-and-suffering component, for the full amount of the $250,000 since the insurance companies know very well that they will get a free pass, courtesy of their effective lobbying. 

Even now as we have a heavily Democratic state legislature and a liberal Democrat governor, who are predisposed to favor victims of wrongdoing, the doctors’ and insurance companies’ lobbies have blocked any effort to change this law as the $250,000 has lost about three-quarters of its value to inflation.  The ONLY way to fix this is by a vote of the People.

Political Alert: Possible November 2020 Ballot Measure Affecting Medical Malpractice Damages' Recovery

The Consumer Watchdog’s 2014 campaign manager (who was not responsible for fundraising) was Michael Kapp, Mr. Kapp’s son.  Michael.  In part because of his pro-consumer work, Michael was elected in 2016 as the youngest known Californian elected to the Democratic National Committee (DNC).  Michael is Chair of the DNC Youth Caucus, 1 of only 2 Californians on the DNC credentials committee, and was instrumental in the recent superdelegate reform.  He attended the 2016 Democratic National Convention and will be a superdelegate in the July 2020 convention in Milwaukee.

You are welcome to read about Michael here.

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Litigation Boutique

The Problem: California's Discriminatory Anti-Malpractice Victim Law -- MICRA

The Solution: Volunteer, Support and Vote for the November 2020 Ballot Measure!

A Personal Note from Mr. Kapp.