Siebert v. Okun (Published Opinion)Annotate this Case
The issue this case presented for the New Mexico Supreme Court’s review centered on whether the cap on all damages other than medical care and punitive damages under the Medical Malpractice Act (MMA), violated the right to trial by jury guaranteed by Article II, Section 12 of the New Mexico Constitution. Plaintiff Susan Siebert successfully sued her doctor, Rebecca Okun, M.D., and Women’s Specialists of New Mexico, Ltd. (WSNM) for medical malpractice under the MMA. Following the return of the jury’s verdict, Defendants Dr. Okun and WSNM moved to reduce the jury award of $2,600,000 to conform with the $600,000 cap on all nonmedical and nonpunitive damages in MMA actions. The district court denied Defendants’ motion, concluding that the MMA nonmedical, nonpunitive damages cap infringed the state constitutional right to a trial by jury. The Supreme Court held that the MMA nonmedical, nonpunitive damages cap did not violate Article II, Section 12, and reversed the district court’s denial of Defendants’ motion to conform the judgment in accordance with the statutory cap.