Ron Springs joins constitutional challenge to Texas malpractice award cap

Former Dallas Cowboys star Ron Springs is one of 11 plaintiffs named in lawsuit filed today in the U.S. District Court for Texas’ eastern district, which aims to challenge Texas’ cap on medical malpractice awards.

A prior malpractice suit was filed on behalf of Springs by his wife, Adriane. It alleges anesthesiologist Joyce Abraham and plastic surgeon David Godat were negligent in a 2007 cyst removal procedure in which Springs suffered a severe reaction to anesthesia, resulting in cardiac arrest.

Springs, though revived after the incident, remains in a comatose state.

Dr. Godat and Dr. Abraham refute the suit’s claims. They are represented by law firm Fraley & Fraley LLP.

“Fundamental constitutional guarantees protect injured patients who prove they were injured as a result of another’s negligence from having the Legislature impose a second injury on them by taking away their right to compensation,” said Robert S. Peck, president of the Center for Constitutional Litigation, in a release.

The Center for Constitutional Litigation is a Washington, D.C. firm which has challenged numerous tort reform laws.

In 2003 the Texas Legislature passed the Medical Malpractice and Tort Reform Act, which set an award limit of $250,000 per plaintiff in cases where medical malpractice had been proved.

“This odious Texas law must be challenged,” said Les Weisbrod of Miller Curtis & Weisbrod LLC, in a release.

The constitutional challenge alleges the Texas cap violates the petition clause of the First Amendment, the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment, the right to a jury trial clause of the Seventh Amendment, and the due process, equal protection and privileges and immunities clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.