The Oklahoma Supreme Court found a “No Pay, No Play” law in violation of the Oklahoma Constitution, which prohibits special laws which alter jurisdiction, the rules of evidence or inquiry before the courts. Montgomery v. Potter, 2014 WL 7150021 (Okla. Dec. 6, 2014).
An uninsured motorist sued another driver for injuries and damages, which included pain and suffering. The defendant asserted that Oklahoma statute 47 O.S. 2011 section 7-116 precludes the plaintiff from pursuing pain and suffering damages, as well as certain other non-economic damages, because the plaintiff was uninsured in violation of Oklahoma’s Compulsory Insurance Law. The plaintiff moved for declaratory relief declaring the statute unconstitutional, arguing the statute was an impermissible special law that carved out a class of accident victims who are uninsured from the general class of all auto accident victims.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court held the statute unconstitutional because it is a special law which “regulat[es] the practice or jurisdiction of, or chang[es] the rules of evidence in judicial proceedings or inquiry before the courts.” The Supreme Court further held that the statute targeted from the general class of plaintiffs with bodily injuries who had the ability to recover for pain and suffering those specific individuals not in compliance with Oklahoma’s Compulsory Insurance Law. Additionally, the Supreme Court found the statute unconstitutional as it requires special treatment of the uninsured plaintiffs without consideration as to whether the plaintiffs were at fault in causing the accident or not, because it holds uninsured drivers to different and much stricter standards than other plaintiffs in automobile negligence cases by creating an impermissible special class and restricting damages in civil negligence actions.