Medical malpractice plaintiffs challenging the constitutionality of a Texas law limiting noneconomic damages filed a memorandum opposing a motion to intervene by the Texas Hospital Association today, written by CCL's Robert S. Peck.

    The THA argues that because the individual plaintiffs were joined by two groups, Texas Watch and the National Medical Malpractice Advocacy Association, two organizations whose members include individual medical malpractice plaintiffs, it should be allowed to become a defendant in the case to provide opposing views as a advocacy organization.

     The CCL memorandum argues that THA makes a potential case for amicus status but does not qualify to become a party, taking discovery, putting on evidence, and otherwise adding to and complicating the proceedings. The statute is already being defended by a multitude of health-care providers who will likely be joined by the Texas Attorney General's office, which is obliged to defend the statute. The opposition to intervention further states that the THA has not identified any claims or defenses it uniquely brings that have common facts or law to those already in the case, as evidenced by the vanilla answer it proposed filing that contained no affirmative defenses. A second requirement THA failed to meet is that they must show that the statute is inadequately defended. The THA motion makes no attempt to do so.

     The case, Winnett v. Frank, is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.