2005 Missouri Revised Statutes - § 538.210. — Limitation on noneconomic damages--jury not to be informed of limit--limit--punitive damages, requirements.

538.210. 1. In any action against a health care provider for damages for personal injury or death arising out of the rendering of or the failure to render health care services, no plaintiff shall recover more than three hundred fifty thousand dollars for noneconomic damages irrespective of the number of defendants.

2. (1) Such limitation shall also apply to any individual or entity, or their employees or agents that provide, refer, coordinate, consult upon, or arrange for the delivery of health care services to the plaintiff; and

(2) Who is a defendant in a lawsuit brought against a health care provider under this chapter, or who is a defendant in any lawsuit that arises out of the rendering of or the failure to render health care services.

(3) No individual or entity whose liability is limited by the provisions of this chapter shall be liable to any plaintiff based on the actions or omissions of any other entity or person who is not an employee of such individual or entity whose liability is limited by the provisions of this chapter.

Such limitation shall apply to all claims for contribution.

3. In any action against a health care provider for damages for personal injury or death arising out of the rendering of or the failure to render health care services, where the trier of fact is a jury, such jury shall not be instructed by the court with respect to the limitation on an award of noneconomic damages, nor shall counsel for any party or any person providing testimony during such proceeding in any way inform the jury or potential jurors of such limitation.

4. For purposes of sections 538.205 to 538.230, any spouse claiming damages for loss of consortium of their spouse shall be considered to be the same plaintiff as their spouse.

5. Any provision of law or court rule to the contrary notwithstanding, an award of punitive damages against a health care provider governed by the provisions of sections 538.205 to 538.230 shall be made only upon a showing by a plaintiff that the health care provider demonstrated willful, wanton or malicious misconduct with respect to his actions which are found to have injured or caused or contributed to cause the damages claimed in the petition.

6. For purposes of sections 538.205 to 538.230, all individuals and entities asserting a claim for a wrongful death under section 537.080, RSMo, shall be considered to be one plaintiff.

(L. 1986 S.B. 663 5, A.L. 2005 H.B. 393)

CROSS REFERENCES: Applicability of statute changes to cases filed after August 28, 2005, RSMo 538.305 Time limitation to bring malpractice actions, RSMo 516.105

(1992) Statute does not violate the equal protection, due process, nor does it deny plaintiffs a lawful remedy for a wrong done; it simply redefines the substantive law by limiting the amount of noneconomic damages plaintiffs can recover. Because statute is not applied until after the jury has completed its constitutional task, it does not infringe upon the right to a jury trial. Adams v. The Children's Mercy Hospital, 832 S.W.2d 898 (Mo.banc).

(1992) Where question facing court is whether there are one or two caps on noneconomic damages, it depends on whether there are one or two defendants which turns on whether the doctor is insured as an employee of the hospital's malpractice insurance policy. If the doctor is insured as an employee under the hospital's policy, then there is one cap. Vincent v. Johnson, 833 S.W.2d 859 (Mo.banc).

(2004) In wrongful death action, patient's surviving husband and two children are considered one "plaintiff" for purposes of applying statutory cap for noneconomic damages. Cook v. Newman, 142 S.W.3d 880 (Mo.App. W.D.).

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