Tag Archives: Tort Reform

The Doctors Company’s Dubious Medical Malpractice Statistics

This morning, MedPage Today — which should know better — began their “Morning Break” with this description and link: An analysis of closed claim data from The Doctors Company suggests that physicians spend about 10% of their professional life dealing with malpractice claims, but most of those claims are closed with no money paid to the plaintiff. Goodness! That sounds incredible. Turns out, it is incredible. In fact, it’s false. The linked post by “The Doctors Company” at The Doctor Weighs In says: The average physician spends over 10 percent of his or her career consumed in defense of an ... Continue Reading

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The Lucrative Mass Torts Scam That Wasn’t

The lawsuit brought by financier Amir Shenaq against mass-torts law firm AkinMears has made the rounds of the tort reform blogs (e.g., SETexas Record, Daniel Fisher at Forbes, and Paul Barrett at Bloomberg), so I figured some plaintiff-side commentary was in order. The details of the lawsuit confirm what I’ve been saying for years: “Mass torts is not an area in which you want to dabble and start throwing around discounts. It’s work, it’s risky, and it can be very, very expensive.”   In essence, a former hedge fund executive filed suit against the law firm claiming that he was ... Continue Reading

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The “Home Of The Throwed Rolls” — A New Hot Coffee Case?

Over at Lowering the Bar, Kevin Underhill reports on a lawsuit filed against Lambert’s Cafe in Sikeston, Missouri, a place known as the “home of the throwed rolls.” It seems a roll was “throwed” and a patron was injured, suffering “a lacerated cornea with a vitreous detachment.” Ouch. Underhill raises a lot of good points about the case, with case law to boot. Initially, there’s the question of whether the patron assumed the risk of being hit in the face with a roll. As Underhill says, The Missouri Supreme Court [has] held that the question is whether the plaintiff was ... Continue Reading

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Ted Frank And The Real Risk Of Class Actions

Tort reformer Ted Frank and I have had our disagreements over the years. (See here and here.) In recent years, he has focused his work on filing objections to class action settlements through the Center for Class Action Fairness. Some of his work has focused on getting a better deal for class action members who, he alleged, weren’t receiving fair portions of the proposed settlement, but the bulk of his objections — at least to my knowledge — have focused on reducing the attorney’s fees claimed by the class counsel.   As Alison Frankel reported yesterday, it seems that, in ... Continue Reading

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The Florida Bar Sued For Prohibiting Lawyers From Having Opinions

When I saw it, I had to double-check to see if it was a joke. The report said the Florida Bar  precluded a law firm from posting on its blog remarks like, “[the days] when we could trust big corporations … are over,” “Government regulation of … consumer safety has been lackadaisical at best,” and “when it comes to ‘tort reform’ there is a single winner: the insurance industry,” because such statements of opinion are not “objectively verifiable.” If that was the rule everywhere, then the ABA Journal’s list of top blawgs would be very dull indeed.   Could that ... Continue Reading

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Judge Kozinski Vs. The Proposed Federal Civil Procedure Amendments

If you don't think you can win fair and square, then change the rules. That’s been the modus operandi of the United States Chamber of Commerce (a private lobbying group with a misleading name) and the wealthy interests it represents, like the nation’s major insurance companies and product manufacturers. That's why there's been such a push for “tort reform” in the states over the past generation: because those same interests have realized that, in a fair court system, they will be held accountable for the full human and economic damage that they cause.   In the federal system, those wealthy ... Continue Reading

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“Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act” Aims To Make Litigation More Expensive

Late last week, when I heard that the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act,” a certain Mark Twain quote came to mind: “Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.”   Currently, if a lawyer violates Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 (which prohibits, for example, filings presented for an improper purpose or which contain a false statement of fact), a Court may impose a sanction, including a monetary penalty. The “Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act” would change that to require monetary sanctions whenever a Court finds Rule ... Continue Reading

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Medical Malpractice Accountability Plummets, While Malpractice Epidemic Continues Unabated

I’ve written extensively about medical malpractice myths, including posts about defensive medicine, the realities of malpractice litigation (in which it’s more likely that a negligent doctor will evade responsibility than it is that an undeserving patient will be compensated), and the tricks played to deny injured patients their legal rights, like concealing evidence and intimidating expert witnesses. Just last month I wrote about the hard data on malpractice lawsuits in Pennsylvania.   Why so much focus on malpractice law? Because it seems to be the area of plaintiffs’ litigation most heavily shrouded with myths and misunderstandings. Just last month, one ... Continue Reading

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The Undeniable Fact Of A Pro-Big-Business Supreme Court

  Three years ago, Professor Richard Epstein of the University of Chicago was peddling falsehoods and misconceptions about malpractice law that wouldn’t pass a 1L Torts class. Via Walter Olson, I see he’s back with a piece titled, “The Myth of a Pro-Business SCOTUS,” claiming “Commentators inaccurately condemn the five conservative justices as corporate shills.” He specifically mentions articles by Erwin Chemerinsky, Adam Liptak, Arthur Miller (whose article I discussed previously) and the recent analysis by Lee Epstein, William Landes, and Richard Posner.   Epstein raises three complaints about attacks on the Roberts Court: “selection bias; misplaced significance; and failure ... Continue Reading

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The Reality of Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice

For years, I’ve written about the prevailing myths about medical malpractice law, from the falsehoods about defensive medicine to the extraordinary economic damage caused by malpractice itself. Contrary to what the insurance companies and hospital lobbying groups keep saying, “defensive medicine” is simply a myth (if a given test didn’t make a patient substantially safer, doctors wouldn’t gain anything by doing it). The damage caused by malpractice — even when measured in purely economic terms, ignoring the non-economic harms and losses — dwarfs the cost of the malpractice legal system, including all the lawyers and all the settlements and verdicts. ... Continue Reading

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