A federal declaratory-judgment suit was filed yesterday challenging whether the Texas medical-malpractice caps violate the federal constitution. The suit was filed in Marshall and assigned to Judge Ward of the Eastern District of Texas.
A copy of the complaint is available through the post “Federal Suit Challenges Chapter 74 Damages Caps” on the Texas Appellate Law blog, which is where I learned of this suit.
I’ve only made a quick scan of the complaint, but its procedural complexity — proposing that the court certify
both plaintiff and defendant classes of those affected by the medical-malpractice caps statewide, as well as a third class of defendant Texas trial judges — appears to be the plaintiffs’ attempt to avoid both the State’s direct immunity from such a suit and the web of federal jurisdictional and prudential problems that might arise from the fact that at least some of the named plaintiffs have ongoing state lawsuits over this same subject matter with the named defendants. With that in mind, I’m also not quite sure how this federal suit will avoid duplicative litigation. One assumes that, as the plaintiffs’ state court cases proceed, they will be forced to raise or waive these same arguments.