January 17, 2010
I am tired of scapegoating lawyers in general, and trial lawyers in particular, and it is one reason why I now call myself a Reagan conservative rather than a Republican.
Health care now absorbs almost 20 percent of our gross domestic product, which creates a hidden and growing tax on the American consumer. However, the best that the Republican Party and other conservative groups can do is to promote tort reform as its principal response to the health care dilemma.
On the one hand, conservative groups bemoan national solutions to state, economic or business problems, and yet do not comprehend that national legislation to control state courts is anathema to the Constitution. It violates the Constitutional principle that rights not granted to the federal government have been reserved to the states, and it undermines the concept of federalism.
So-called “tort reform” will usurp the legal rights of citizens when access to the courts provides the only means of redress against a large and malevolent federal government and powerful business interests.
January 11, 2010
The largest verdict awarded to a corporation last year was more than five times the size of the year’s largest product-liability verdict: a $300 million award against Philip Morris in a case involving a former smoker who developed cancer. The victim was awarded $56 million, with another $244 million in punitive damages.
So far there have been no reports of a call for a cap on jury awards in patent-infringement cases. Apparently juries are considered competent enough to register proper judgments in those disputes.