The California Medical Association (CMA) recently filed an amicus brief defending the constitutionality of California’s landmark Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) case against a physician where the jury awarded the plaintiffs $2.9 million for lost wages and $1 million for noneconomic damages. In accordance with MICRA’S noneconomic damages provision (Civil Code Sec. 3333.2), the court adjusted the $1 million dollar award to $250,000 and then apportioned the award to reflect the jury’s finding that the physician was 20 percent responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries. The plaintiffs have appealed, asserting that MICRA's cap on noneconomic damages violates the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution and their right to a jury trial. CMA's amicus brief emphasizes the constitutionality and importance of MICRA's cap on noneconomic damages and states that the plaintiff’s arguments do not provide any legitimate basis to question the constitutionality of MICRA.

Additionally, in a recent decision, the Second District appellate court sided with CMA and ruled that when determining future economic damage awards in personal injury cases (which includes medical professional negligence), juries can only consider reasonable amounts actually paid or incurred for past medical care, not undiscounted provider bills that were never paid by the injured person. The court also ruled that evidence of the full amount billed is inadmissible for the purpose of calculating noneconomic damages. The appellate court reversed a lower court's ruling and ordered a new trial to determine compensation based on the actual medical costs paid to providers.