In 2013, Gray Ritter Graham attorney Maurice Graham represented a family in the trial of a wrongful death, medical malpractice lawsuit involving their late wife and mother. Although the jury returned a verdict in favor of the family in the amount of $10,832,155, the trial court reduced the amount to $2,181,155 based on a Missouri statutory limit on noneconomic damages. This cap had previously been held unconstitutional for cases of living victims of medical malpractice, but the cap’s application in wrongful death cases remained an open question.
In the appeal, Maurice Graham and fellow Gray Ritter Graham attorneys Patrick Hagerty, Joan Lockwood and Kaitlin Bridgesargued that applying the noneconomic damages cap in wrongful death cases is unconstitutional and, under the law, only the Missouri Supreme Court decides constitutional challenges. The Court of Appeals concluded that the Supreme Court was in fact the proper court to decide the case, and therefore transferred it there on July 21.