Farley v. Engelken, No. 1

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Kansas
Writing for the CourtHERD; LOCKETT; ALLEGRUCCI; HOLMES
Citation241 Kan. 663,740 P.2d 1058
Parties, 74 A.L.R.4th 1, 56 USLW 2060 Roger L. FARLEY, Individually and as administrator of the Estate of Lana S. Farley, Appellant, v. Susan ENGELKEN, M.D., and Community Hospital Districtppellees. Heather DITTO, a minor, and Danielle Ditto, a minor, By and Through Douglas and Cheryl DITTO, individually and as natural guardians and next friends of Heather Ditto and Danielle Ditto, Appellees, v. SHAWNEE MISSION MEDICAL CENTER, Appellant. Charley RIDGE, Appellee, v. Pat BARKER, M.D., Appellant.
Decision Date17 July 1987
Docket NumberA,No. 1,59338 and 59591,Nos. 59314

Page 1058

740 P.2d 1058
241 Kan. 663, 74 A.L.R.4th 1, 56 USLW 2060
Roger L. FARLEY, Individually and as administrator of the
Estate of Lana S. Farley, Appellant,
v.
Susan ENGELKEN, M.D., and Community Hospital District No. 1,
Appellees.
Heather DITTO, a minor, and Danielle Ditto, a minor, By and
Through Douglas and Cheryl DITTO, individually and
as natural guardians and next friends of
Heather Ditto and Danielle
Ditto, Appellees,
v.
SHAWNEE MISSION MEDICAL CENTER, Appellant.
Charley RIDGE, Appellee,
v.
Pat BARKER, M.D., Appellant.
Nos. 59314, 59338 and 59591.
Supreme Court of Kansas.
July 17, 1987.

Page 1059

Syllabus by the Court

1. Under the "collateral source rule," benefits received by the plaintiff from a source wholly independent of and collateral to the wrongdoer will not diminish the damages otherwise recoverable from the wrongdoer.

2. When a statute is attacked on equal protection grounds, the general rule is that the statute is presumed constitutional, and the burden is on the party attacking the statute to prove otherwise. However, in cases involving "suspect classifications" or "fundamental interests," the presumption of constitutionality is displaced and the burden placed on the party asserting constitutionality to demonstrate a compelling state interest justifying the classification.

3. The "rational basis" test for determining whether a statutory classification is constitutional requires consideration of whether the classification bears some reasonable relationship to a valid legislative objective.

4. The "heightened scrutiny" test for determining whether a statutory classification is constitutional requires a determination of whether the classification substantially furthers a legitimate legislative purpose.

5. The "strict scrutiny" test for determining whether a statutory classification is constitutional requires a determination of whether the classification is necessary to serve a compelling state interest.

6. [241 Kan. 664] The legislative enactment abrogating the collateral source rule in medical malpractice cases, K.S.A. 1986 Supp. 60-3403, violates equal protection by (1) singling out a class of persons (negligent health care providers) for preferential treatment not extended to any other tortfeasor, professional or otherwise; (2) potentially denying a limited class of tort victims (insured or otherwise compensated medical malpractice victims) the right to be compensated by the person or persons who wronged them; and (3) potentially increasing the insurance burden of victims, their insurers, and the general public.

7. The classifications created by K.S.A. 1986 Supp. 60-3403 do not substantially further a legitimate legislative objective and the statute is unconstitutional under the equal protection clause of the Kansas Bill of Rights.

Frank M. Rice, of Schroer, Rice, P.A., of Topeka, argued and was on the brief for appellant Roger L. Farley.

Wayne T. Stratton, of Goodell, Stratton, Edmonds & Palmer, Topeka, argued and Marta Fisher Linenberger, was with him on the brief for appellees Susan Engelken, M.D., and Community Hosp. Dist. No. 1.

Michael P. Oliver, of Wallace, Saunders, Austin, Brown, and Enochs, Chrtd., of Overland Park, argued and Frank Saunders, Jr., was with him on the briefs for appellant Shawnee Mission Medical Center.

Donald W. Vasos, of Vasos, Kugler & Dickerson, of Kansas City, argued and was

Page 1060

on the brief for appellees Heather Ditto and Danielle Ditto.

Kenneth E. Pierce, of Reynolds, Pierce, Forker, Suter, O'Neal & Myers, of Hutchinson, argued and was on the briefs for appellant Pat Barker, M.D.

Stanley R. Juhnke, of Juhnke and Howell, of Hutchinson, argued and was on the brief for appellee Charley Ridge.

Jerry G. Elliott, of Foulston, Siefkin, Powers & Eberhardt, of Wichita, and Stephen M. Kerwick, were on the brief for amici curiae Kansas Medical Soc. and Kansas Hosp. Ass'n.

Randall E. Fisher, of McDonald, Tinker, Skaer, Quinn & Herrington, P.A., of [241 Kan. 665] Wichita, and Debra J. Arnett, were on the brief for amicus curiae Kansas Ass'n of Defense Counsel.

Fred N. Six, of Barber, Emerson, Six, Springer & Zinn, of Lawrence, and Thomas V. Murray, and Derenda J. Mitchell, sp. asst. atty. gen., of Topeka, were on the brief for amicus curiae Fletcher Bell, Kansas Com'r of Ins. and Adm'r of Kansas Health Care Stabilization Fund.

HERD, Justice.

Three interlocutory appeals in medical malpractice suits have been consolidated for a determination of the constitutionality of K.S.A. 1986 Supp. 60-3403 (hereafter 60-3403). In Farley v. Engelken, et at., Case No. 59,314, the district court of Pottawatomie County upheld the constitutionality of the statute and plaintiff has appealed. In the other cases, Ditto, et al. v. Shawnee Mission Medical Center, Case No. 59,338, and Ridge v. Barker, Case No. 59,591, the district courts of Johnson County and Barber County found the statute to be unconstitutional and the defendants have appealed. Plaintiffs in all three cases are united in interest in asserting the unconstitutionality of the statute and will be referred to collectively throughout this opinion as plaintiffs. As the various health care provider defendants are likewise united in interest in asserting the constitutionality of the statute they will be referred to collectively as defendants.

In addition to the conflicting decisions in our state district courts, a division of authority also exists in the federal trial courts of Kansas. In Ferguson v. Garmon, 643 F. Supp. 335 (D.Kan.1986), and Crowe by and through Crowe v. Wigglesworth, 623 F.Supp. 699 (D.Kan.1985), Chief Judge O'Connor and Judge Kelly upheld the constitutionality of the statute, while in Coburn by and through Coburn v. Agustin, 627 F.Supp. 983 (D.Kan.1985), and Fretz v. Keltner, 109 F.R.D. 303 (D.Kan.1985), Judges Theis and Saffels found the statute unconstitutional.

The primary question presented on appeal is whether 60-3403 violates the equal protection clauses of the Kansas and United States Constitutions and Section 18 of the Kansas Bill of Rights. The statute was enacted in 1985 and abrogates the common-law collateral source rule in "any medical malpractice liability action." The collateral source rule is a common-law rule preventing the introduction of certain evidence, summarized in the [241 Kan. 666] Restatement (Second) of Torts § 920A (1977), as "[p]ayments made to or benefits conferred on the injured party from other sources [which] are not credited against the tortfeasor's liability although they cover all or a part of the harm for which the tortfeasor is liable." In Allman v. Holleman, 233 Kan. 781, Syl. p 8, 667 P.2d 296 (1983), we stated the rule as:

"The collateral source rule provides that benefits received by the plaintiff from a source wholly independent of and collateral to the wrongdoer will not diminish the damages otherwise recoverable from the wrongdoer."

Such payments are commonly known as collateral source benefits or payments. K.S.A. 1986 Supp. 60-3403 is the successor to K.S.A. 60-471, which was found unconstitutional by this court in Wentling v. Medical Anesthesia Services, 237 Kan. 503, 701 P.2d 939 (1985).

K.S.A. 1986 Supp. 60-3403 provides:

"Evidence of collateral source payments and amounts offsetting payments; admissibility; effect. (a) In any medical malpractice liability action, evidence of the amount of reimbursement or indemnification

Page 1061

paid or to be paid to or for the benefit of a claimant under the following shall be admissible: (1) Medical, disability or other insurance coverage except life insurance coverage; or (2) workers' compensation, military service benefit plan, employment wage continuation plan, social welfare benefit program or other benefit plan or program provided by law.

"(b) When evidence of reimbursement or indemnification of a claimant is admitted pursuant to subsection (a), the claimant may present evidence of any amounts paid to secure the right to such reimbursement or indemnification and the extent to which the right to recovery is subject to a lien or subrogation rights.

"(c) In determining damages in a medical malpractice action, the trier of fact shall consider: (1) The extent to which damages awarded will duplicate reimbursement or indemnification specified in subsection (a); and (2) the extent to which such reimbursement or indemnification is offset by amounts or rights specified in subsection (b).

"(d) The provisions of this section shall apply to any action pending or brought on or after July 1, 1985, regardless of when the cause of action accrued."

Plaintiffs assert that the statute unconstitutionally creates a class of plaintiffs in tort litigation, insured or otherwise compensated medical malpractice plaintiffs, who are treated differently from all other plaintiffs in tort litigation. The medical malpractice plaintiffs do not receive the benefit of the collateral source rule while all other tort plaintiffs do receive that benefit. It is also asserted the statute creates a class of tort litigation defendants, [241 Kan. 667] health care providers, who are not subject to the rule, while all other tort defendants are subject to the rule. Defendants, on the other hand, assert the statute is constitutional and that the classifications created are within the legislature's authority in seeking a remedy to a problem of extreme public interest.

The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that no state shall "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." The Kansas counterpart to the Fourteenth Amendment equal protection clause is found in Sections 1 and 2 of the Bill of Rights of the Kansas Constitution, which provide:

"s 1. Equal rights. All men are possessed of equal and inalienable natural rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of...

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68 practice notes
  • Trujillo v. City of Albuquerque, No. 18296
    • United States
    • New Mexico Supreme Court of New Mexico
    • August 27, 1990
    ...at 695 n. 5, 763 P.2d at 1160 n. 5 (citing Coburn v. Agustin, 627 F.Supp. 983, 995 (D.Kan.1985) (medical malpractice); Farley v. Engelken, 241 Kan. 663, 672, 740 P.2d 1058, 1064 (1987) (medical malpractice); Sibley v. Board of Supervisors of La. State Univ., 477 So.2d 1094, 1107 (La.1985) (......
  • Aves By and Through Aves v. Shah, No. 73184
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Kansas
    • November 3, 1995
    ...used in determining if a statute violates equal protection--rational basis, heightened scrutiny, and strict scrutiny. Farley v. Engelken, 241 Kan. 663, 669, 740 P.2d 1058 This court has traditionally treated malpractice legislation as economic regulation in which the rational basis test is ......
  • State v. Voyles, No. 92,030.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Kansas
    • June 22, 2007
    ...The United States Supreme Court currently recognizes three levels of scrutiny in analyzing due process claims. See Farley v. Engelken, 241 Kan. 663, 669, 740 P.2d 1058 (1987). The highest level of scrutiny, "strict scrutiny," applies in cases involving suspect classifications and fundamenta......
  • Care and Treatment of Hendricks, Matter of, No. 73039
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Kansas
    • March 1, 1996
    ...501-02, 819 P.2d 638 (1991). However, the standard is heightened where a fundamental right is involved. We held in Farley v. Engelken, 241 Kan. 663, 669, 740 P.2d 1058 (1987), that the "standard of scrutiny increases with the perceived importance of the right or interest involved and the se......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
68 cases
  • Trujillo v. City of Albuquerque, No. 18296
    • United States
    • New Mexico Supreme Court of New Mexico
    • August 27, 1990
    ...at 695 n. 5, 763 P.2d at 1160 n. 5 (citing Coburn v. Agustin, 627 F.Supp. 983, 995 (D.Kan.1985) (medical malpractice); Farley v. Engelken, 241 Kan. 663, 672, 740 P.2d 1058, 1064 (1987) (medical malpractice); Sibley v. Board of Supervisors of La. State Univ., 477 So.2d 1094, 1107 (La.1985) (......
  • Aves By and Through Aves v. Shah, No. 73184
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Kansas
    • November 3, 1995
    ...used in determining if a statute violates equal protection--rational basis, heightened scrutiny, and strict scrutiny. Farley v. Engelken, 241 Kan. 663, 669, 740 P.2d 1058 This court has traditionally treated malpractice legislation as economic regulation in which the rational basis test is ......
  • State v. Voyles, No. 92,030.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Kansas
    • June 22, 2007
    ...The United States Supreme Court currently recognizes three levels of scrutiny in analyzing due process claims. See Farley v. Engelken, 241 Kan. 663, 669, 740 P.2d 1058 (1987). The highest level of scrutiny, "strict scrutiny," applies in cases involving suspect classifications and fundamenta......
  • Care and Treatment of Hendricks, Matter of, No. 73039
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Kansas
    • March 1, 1996
    ...501-02, 819 P.2d 638 (1991). However, the standard is heightened where a fundamental right is involved. We held in Farley v. Engelken, 241 Kan. 663, 669, 740 P.2d 1058 (1987), that the "standard of scrutiny increases with the perceived importance of the right or interest involved and the se......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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