On September 24, the Court of Appeals, Dist. IV located in Madison held that the statutory limit of $250,000 on damage awards against state employees, including University of Wisconsin Hospital physicians, was constitutional. The case is Fiez v. Keevil, 2013AP2711 (Sept. 24, 2014).
Defendant Robert Keevil, a physician employed by the University of Wisconsin Medical School, provided care to the plaintiff, Robert Fiez. During trial, the jury found Keevil negligent and awarded damages to Fiez of more than $1 million. The circuit court then applied the statutory cap under Wis. Stat. § 893.82(6), which limits damages for state employees at $250,000.
The plaintiff appealed arguing that the $250,000 limit violated the Wisconsin Constitution’s equal protection clause, Wis. Const. art. I, § 1 .
Court of Appeals Upholds $250,000 Statutory Limit
In a unanimous decision, the Court of Appeals held that the statutory limit was constitutional. The Court rejected the plaintiff’s arguments noting that “it is within the power of the legislature to use a damages cap to preserve public funds by allowing for fiscal planning and avoidance of high judgments.”