In 2003, Texas became the twenty-sixth state to cap non-economic awards for pain and suffering-type damages in health care lawsuits. Voters were then asked to adopt a constitutional amendment-Proposition 12-in order to assure the legality of the caps. The measure passed by a scant two percent, meaning the cap was immediately protected from state challenges.


The 1991 Texas worker's compensation reform bill withstood four years of constitutional challenges before employers finally began to receive the rate relief they so desperately sought. Some feared the state's non-economic damages cap would suffer the same protracted legal battles if Proposition 12 did not pass.


Supporters and opponents spent more than $17 million in the battle over putting limits on medical malpractice awards, making Proposition 12 the most expensive campaign ever on a state constitutional question.


With Proposition 12, voters amended the state constitution to give the Legislature the authority to set damage caps in health care lawsuits. The capped number can be as high as $750,000 and changes depending upon the variety of defendants in a suit.

Prop 12 Constitutional Amendment

Austin American-Statesman

Sunday, July 20, 2003

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Cap on damages from malpractice suits is a necessity

Excerpt from the above staff editorial:

An argument against the cap is that it is arbitrary. Yes it is, but so is any jury’s attempt to award noneconomic damages.

Prop 12, Senator Bill Ratliff

Longview News-Journal

Sunday, July 13, 2003

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“Proposition 12 offers thoughtful compromise to healing health care.”

Senator Bill Ratliff

Prop 12 would reinforce new law.

Austin American-Statesman

Sunday, July 13, 2003

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“Proposition 12 would reinforce new law. Medical malpractice limits are already in effect as voters decide amendment.

Prop 12

Dallas Morning News

Thursday, September 4, 2003

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Memo urges lawyers’ silence. Amendment opponents worry that visibility could hurt chances.

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