(Oct. 3, 2019) – The Special Committee on Judiciary met over two days this week to discuss a variety of issues that included the selection of Kansas Supreme Court justices and statutory caps on non-economic damages. Senator Eric Rucker (R-Topeka) chairs the Special Committee on Judiciary, which is comprised of five senators and six representatives. At the beginning of the discussion that focused on the caps on non-economic damages, representatives from the Kansas Legislative Research Department and the Revisor of Statutes provided a thorough overview of the history of the statutory caps on non-economic damages. They also informed the committee on the recent Kansas Supreme Court Decision in the Hilburn v. Enerpipe Ltd.
case that altered the course of the court's previous decision in Miller v. Johnson
. Organizations providing testimony to the committee, in addition to the Kansas Hospital Association
, included the Kansas Medical Society, KAMMCO, Kansas Chamber of Commerce and the Kansas Trial Lawyers Association. Most comments by the health care community focused on the need to closely monitor and evaluate the court's decision in Hillburn
prior to any legislative response occurring. While not suggesting any immediate legislative response, the representative from the Kansas Chamber hinted that the court's decision will directly impact the legal climate for Kansas businesses and that a legislative remedy may be forthcoming. At the conclusion of their two-day discussion, the committee deliberated on potential legislative recommendations and agreed to not make any formal recommendations but to closely monitor the potential impact of the court's decision.