Oregon High Court Rules State’s Pain And Suffering Cap Unconstitutional

The Oregon Supreme Court ruled that a law limiting noneconomic damage to $ 500,000 in personal injury cases was unconstitutional because it violated the Oregon Constitution’s appeal clause.

Limiting non-economic harm, such as pain and suffering, deprives individuals of their rights of access to justice, the state’s highest court ruled late last week.

The verdict comes from a case in which Scott Raymond Busch filed a claim for damages against the defendant McInnis Waste Systems Inc., a private waste disposal company whose garbage trucks hit the plaintiff at a zebra crossing in downtown Portland.

A jury found that Busch had and will suffer economic damage of $ 3,021,922, and granted the plaintiff, whose leg was lost in the accident, non-economic damage of $ 10.5 million. This was later reduced to the limit of $ 500,000 by a court.

An appeals court overturned that decision, ruling that the cap deprived individuals of access to court, and the state Supreme Court upheld that decision last week.

The court found in its ruling that its decision was limited to the circumstances set out in this case and that it did not express an opinion on whether mitigation in other cases conformed to the section of the Oregon Constitution in question.

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