October 28, 2009
I came across this article that was published several years ago in USAToday ( http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/2005-01-30-tort-reform_x.htm ). It occurred to me that it is generally possible to fight reality-based inaccuracies. Facts are facts and are either true or false or in between. Facts can be verified and are supported by some sort of evidence-strong or weak. If there is no evidence to support it, then generally in a reality-based environment, those facts then don’t exist.
Myths on the other hand are not bound by any set of facts. Myths can be changed at will at any time to suit the proferrer’s needs. They are not based in reality. They are molded and designed to rely on the listeners’ prejudice and pre-dispositions for their existence. More uneducated the listener is the more believable myths become and the more believable they become, the harder it becomes to fight them. You can educate the listener, but then the myth will change in subtle ways and sometimes in not so subtle ways to provide alternatives and the game goes on.
Trial Lawyers have been losing the public relation game (some believe that the game has been lost for years) where the Consumer has come to view the Trial Lawyer as the Problem and not as their last line of defense against the corporations and other entities that profit from the their ignorance.
October 23, 2009
One way I illustrate my point about Trial Lawyers being the Consumer’s Last Line of Defense ™ is to talk to them about the relationship between the McDonald’s case and the presence of cup holders in cars. The McDonald’s case where a woman received 3rd degree burns over 6% of her body is consistently used by the media and other with specific agendas as one that illustrates the abuse of the Courts by the Trial Lawyers. It is ironic that the truth of the matter is the exact opposite.
“The installation of cup holders in automobiles increased significantly after Stella Liebeck v. McDonald’s Corporation, where a 79-year-old woman in Albuquerque, New Mexico ordered hot coffee from a McDonald’s restaurant. She then spilled the coffee on her lap and was seriously scalded. Facts of the case: she first went to McDs and asked for 1. them to pay her cleaning bill, 2. pay her doctor bill, and 3. apologize. In one of the largest corporate miscalculations of all time McD refused deal. She subsequently sued McDonald’s in a jury trial. Liebeck was awarded US$2.7 million in damages by the Jury, which was later reduced by the judge to US$640,000. The case was settled privately for an undisclosed sum.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cup_holder
The presence of cup holders in cars has provided increased safety for the Consumers. Far from being an abuse of the Courts, a trial lawyer and his efforts to properly prosecute a case for his client is mostly responsible for this increase in Consumer Safety.
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October 19, 2009
“Yes, we’ll have a good strong, public option,” Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) told reporters Friday.
Harkin has been one of the main proponents of the public plan in the Senate, but Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Finance Committee, has said he doesn’t think the public option has enough votes to pass in the Senate.
October 8, 2009
Orthopedic surgeons who received payments from device makers often failed to follow disclosure policies required by their chief professional society, researchers said.
Nearly 30% of manufacturers’ payments to board and committee members of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) and to presenters at its 2008 annual meeting, went unreported, according to Kanu Okike, MD, MPH, of Harvard University and colleagues.
Some 20% of payments directly related to presentation topics went undisclosed, as did half of indirectly related and unrelated payments, Okike and colleagues found.
The group’s written policy requires disclosure of all payments — including non-cash remuneration such as travel, gifts, entertainment, and meals — from companies selling products related directly or indirectly to presentation topics.
The researchers suggested that, in light of their findings, the current disclosure system based on physician self-reporting may soon be replaced by mandatory reporting by companies making such payments.
October 7, 2009
A representative of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., the largest home insurer in the U.S., came to the charred remnants of Tunnell’s home to tell her the company would pay just $220,000 of the estimated $306,000 cost of rebuilding the house.
“It was devastating; I stood there and cried,” says Tunnell, 42, who teaches accounting at San Diego City College. “I felt absolutely abandoned.”
Tunnell joined thousands of people in the U.S. who already knew a secret about the insurance industry: When there’s a disaster, the companies homeowners count on to protect them from financial ruin routinely pay less than what policies promise. Insurers often pay 30-60 percent of the cost of rebuilding a damaged home–even when carriers assure homeowners they’re fully covered, thousands of complaints with state insurance departments and civil court cases show.
Paying out less to victims of catastrophes has helped produce record profits. In the past 12 years, insurance company net income has soared–even in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the worst natural disaster in U.S. history. Property- casualty insurers, which cover damage to homes and cars, reported their highest- ever profit of $73 billion last year, up 49 percent from $49 billion in 2005, according to Highline Data LLC, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based firm that compiles insurance industry data.