Senate Democratic Leader Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, released the following statement after the Oklahoma Supreme Court issued a decision in the case of Beason v. I.E. Miller Services, Inc., ruling that caps on damages for pain and suffering imposed by the Legislature are unconstitutional.
“Tuesday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that arbitrary caps on pain and suffering damages imposed by the Legislature are unconstitutional. In 2009, the majority in the Legislature pushed through legislation to limit pain and suffering damages despite repeated warning that it was unconstitutional.
“The Supreme Court’s decision in this case this week is consistent with almost a decade of previous court decisions striking down legislation for violating provisions of the Oklahoma Constitution. From 2010 to 2013 alone, Oklahoma District Courts, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Oklahoma Supreme Court have found 14 pieces of legislation to be unconstitutional.
“It is a waste of taxpayer dollars for the majority to continually pass clearly unconstitutional legislation. While it is unsurprising some are now complaining about the umpire because they disagree with the call, it is concerning they are going further by attacking the independence of the courts and threatening to change the Oklahoma Constitution in response. We have three coequal branches of government and the independence of the judiciary is a pillar of the American system of government which must be protected.”