CCL filed its reply brief in support of its challenge to the Texas medical-malpractice noneconomic damage cap, arguing that the Seventh Amendment qualifies for application to the States and its preservation of the jury trial as known at common law prevents artificial, one-size-fits-all damage caps on common-law causes of action. The case, Winnett v. Frank, is pending in the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Texas. 

     CCL's brief responds to substantive arguments against application of the Seventh Amendment and the jury-trial right as an obstacle to legislated revision of verdicts made largely by the defendants and the Texas Hospital Association, which intervened in the lawsuit. In addition, CCL responded to procedural objections filed by the Texas Attorney General, who also intervened.

     The attorney general argued that the case should be dismissed because it isn't ripe and because no plaintiff had yet had the legislative cap applied in their underlying medical malpractice case. CCL responded by asserting that its lawsuit is a well-recognized form of preenforcement challenge to a statute, that the defendants had asserted the cap as an affirmative defense in medical malpractice cases, and that the imminent enforcement of the cap affected trial strategy, evaluation of settlement offers, and the type of evidence that would be offered at trial, even if the cap is never applied.

     CCL also argued that the Supreme Court had authoritatively held that juries are the "judges of damages" in a 1998 decision, Feltner v. Columbia Pictures Television, Inc., and that replacing their factfinding, even under the guise of "applying the law," denied the full meaning of a jury trial as guaranteed by the Constitution.

     In the case, CCL represents the plaintiffs along with the Houston law firm of Hampton & King. Oral argument in the case is scheduled for January 7.