Originally set for this Friday, January 7, the bench trial in Winnett v. Frank has been rescheduled for Friday, February 4, at 9:30 am. As you recall, a group of plaintiffs in medical liability cases across the state have sued numerous health care providers challenging Texas’ $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages on federal constitutional grounds. The plaintiffs seek the incorporation of the Seventh Amendment’s right to trial by jury under the Fourteenth Amendment, which would make it applicable to the states. If incorporated, the plaintiffs argue, the Seventh Amendment would bar states from limiting the jury’s fact-finding function through the adoption of damages caps. The providers, along with the Texas Hospital Association and the Texas Attorney General’s Office, are defending the cap on the basis that the U.S. Supreme Court has never applied the federal right to a jury trial to the states, and even if it did, the caps would meet constitutional muster.

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