In a California medical-malpractice case, CCL joined trial counsel in filing an opposition to the defendant's attempt to reduce the jury's verdict to $250,000 in noneconomic damages and to pay the damages to be incurred in the future over time. 

    In Merlo v. Pristine Surgery Center, a jury found an ambulance company and its paramedics liable for putting the patient in a permanent vegetative state by misplacing a breathing tube and assessed $50 million in damages. Of that amount, $20 million comprised noneconomic damages, which state law requires be reduced to $250,000. The defendant had turned down a pre-verdict settlement offer of $5 million for the entire matter.

    The newly filed brief challenges the constitutionality of the damage-cap law and its provision allowing periodic payments of future damages. The cap, the brief argues, violates the right to a jury trial, among other things. The periodic payments provision, it further contends, creates a windfall for defendants because the jury first is instructed to reduce the verdict to present value, discounting the future damages as a result on the assumption that the future damage money could be invested and grow over time. A periodic payments plan then discounts it again, because it withholds that money so it cannot be invested and grow, violating equal protection and due process, the CCL filing argues.