CJ&D Medal of Justice Award, October 10, 2012: Amy Miller

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

People who are wrongfully injured – and the families of those who have died – are the forgotten faces in the debate over the civil justice system. 

The CJ&D Medal of Justice recognizes the inspirational struggles of those who have been harmed through no fault of their own, and who turned their misfortune into something positive.  By successfully challenging wrongdoers in court, they stood up for justice and as a result, made the world a better place.  We admire their strength, respect their wisdom and honor their courage.

CJ&D Medal of Justice Award: Amy Miller


In 1994, then 28-year-old Amy Miller from Douglas County, Kansas, went to her doctor, Dr. Carolyn N. Johnson, with severe pain on her lower right side.  Dr. Johnson recommended – and Amy consented - to have her right ovary removed.  Dr. Miller then proceeded to remove the wrong ovary.  It took another three months for Amy to even learn of this when, still in severe pain, she visited another doctor.  At that point, doctors tried to control the pain with nonsurgical options but to no avail.  Amy had to have her right ovary removed, leaving her with no ovaries. 

Amy sued Dr. Johnson who fought the lawsuit, refusing to admit she did anything wrong.  The jury disagreed, finding her completely at fault.  However, despite awarding Amy $760,000 for this horrible suffering and loss based on the evidence presented at trial, the judge cut the non-economic portion of the award by $325,000, in line with a state law capping compensation for these kinds of injuries at $250,000.  That law passed in 1988 with no inflation adjustment.  Amy courageously pushed on, represented by her tireless attorney, Bill Skepnek, filing a challenge to the constitutionality of this cruel Kansas law and taking her case all the way to the Kansas Supreme Court.  Sadly, this month, the Court majority snubbed not only Amy but also the Kansas jury system and refused to strike down the law.

Another of Amy’s attorneys, Lynn Johnson, is a longtime CJ&D supporter and friend.  Lynn told the media, “I’m deeply disappointed on behalf of the people of Kansas, the Kansas Constitution and the rule of law.”  We hope state lawmakers at least take the Court’s advice and do the next best thing by enacting an inflation adjustment to this Draconian cap.  In the meantime, we honor Amy Miller’s struggle seeking justice not only for herself but also for every injury victim in the State of Kansas.

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