Tort Reform – Florida Supreme Court Strikes Down Caps in Florida

March 14, 2014

Florida Supreme Court

Florida Supreme Court

In yesterday’s 5-2 decision striking down Florida’s cap on non-economic damages in wrongful death cases, the Supreme Court of Florida criticized in withering detail the arguments used by medical malpractice insurance lobbyists and organized medicine to push for caps and other “tort reforms.”

For all the physicians out there, please know that according to the Court, you have been lied to most of all.

Since the industry uses these same arguments to push for laws that limit compensation to sick and injured patients in every state – as well as in Congress – we thought we would take some time to list some highlights from this brutally honest Florida Supreme Court decision.

via ThePopTort: Florida Supreme Court to Med Mal Insurance Industry: Stop Lying.

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Medical Malpractice – Careless Doctors Allowed to Continue Practice

August 23, 2013

The research shows:

• Doctors disciplined or banned by hospitals often keep clean licenses: From 2001 to 2011, nearly 6,000 doctors had their clinical privileges restricted or taken away by hospitals and other medical institutions for misconduct involving patient care. But 52% — more than 3,000 doctors — never were fined or hit with a license restriction, suspension or revocation by a state medical board.

• Even the most severe misconduct goes unpunished: Nearly 250 of the doctors sanctioned by health care institutions were cited as an “immediate threat to health and safety,” yet their licenses still were not restricted or taken away. About 900 were cited for substandard care, negligence, incompetence or malpractice — and kept practicing with no licensure action.

• Doctors with the worst malpractice records keep treating patients: Among the nearly 100,000 doctors who made payments to resolve malpractice claims from 2001 to 2011, roughly 800 were responsible for 10% of all the dollars paid and their total payouts averaged about $5.2 million per doctor. Yet fewer than one in five faced any sort of licensure action by their state medical boards.

The numbers raise red flags for several experts in physician oversight, including David Swankin, head of the Citizen Advocacy Center, which works to make state medical boards more effective.”Medical boards are not like health departments that go out to see if a restaurant is clean; they’re totally reactive, because they rely on these mandatory reports — and they’re supposed to act on them,” Swankin says.

via Thousands of doctors practicing despite errors, misconduct.

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Personal Injury-Bicycle Crash – First in U.S. Guilty of Vehicular Homicide

August 13, 2013

Two things I find interesting in this story.

One, is that just like the driver of a vehicle, a bicyclist is as much responsible to follow the rules of the road. Failure to do so exposes the operator of the bike to vehicular manslaughter when failing to stop at a stop light and hitting people causing injury and death.

Two, the importance of social media such as Facebook and comments one makes after an incident. Courts, throughout the United States are forcing parties to a lawsuit to open up their accounts to scrutiny and any comments, posts or photographs may be used against them. It is important to not make any comments about an incident in which a party is involved. Doing so, will likely lead to a Court granting access to the account to see what is in it and how anything may be used against that party–whether plaintiff or defendant.

A bicyclist who struck and killed a 71-year-old pedestrian in San Francisco has been convicted of felony manslaughter, the first conviction of its kind for a cyclist in the U.S.

via Bicyclist First in U.S. Guilty of Vehicular Homicide – ABC News.

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Personal Injury law – Supreme Court Gives Immunity to Pharmaceutical Corporations

June 24, 2013

The Supreme Court of the United States has issued its opinion in the Mutual Pharmaceutical v. Bartlett case and in the words of the dissenting opinion, it has achieved an astonishing coup in favor of the pharmaceutical corporations:

[T]he majority effectively makes a highly contested policy judgment about the relationship between FDA review and state tort law—treating the FDA as the sole guardian of drug safety—without defending its judgment and without considering whether that is the policy judgment that Congress made.

Congress adopted the FDCA’s premarketing approval requirement in 1938 and then strengthened it in 1962 in response to serious public-health episodes involving unsafe drugs. See Future of Drug Safety 152. Yet by the majority’s lights, the very act of creating that requirement in order to “safeguard the consumer,” United States v. Sullivan , 332 U. S. 689, 696 1948, also created by operation of law a shield for drug manufacturers to avoid paying common-law damages under state laws that are also designed to protect consumers. That is so notwithstanding Congress’ effort to disclaim any intent to pre-empt all state law. See supra, at 4. The majority’s reasoning thus “has the ‘perverse effect’ of granting broad immunity ‘to an entire industry that, in the judgment of Congress, needed more stringent regulation.’ ”

via ThePopTort: Supreme Court to Injured People: “Get Off My Lawn!!!” Er, “Steps!!”.

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Throwing Poor People In Jail For Owing Money

April 6, 2013

The Americans Civil Liberties Union on Friday revealed that courts in Ohio are illegally throwing poor people in jail for being unable to pay off a debt.

In a report titled, “The Outskirts of Hope,” PDF the ACLU shines a light on a harrowing “debtors’ prison” system in Ohio — one that violates both the United States’ and the Ohio constitution. Ohioans are being jailed for “as small as a few hundred dollars,” despite the constitutional violation, and the economic evidence that it costs the state more to pay for their jail sentence than the amount of the debt.

In its report, the ACLU details the stories of several people sent to debtors’ prison. Jack Dawley owed $1,500 in “fines and costs in the Norwalk Municipal Court,” and was behind on child support payments, leading the Ohio courts to send him to prison in Wisconsin for 3 and a half years. He still struggles with trying to repay the fines. Another victim of the system, single mother Tricia Metcalf, was taken to jail each and every time she wasn’t able to make her $50-a-month payments on fines for writing bad checks. Megan Sharp, whose husband is currently in jail on overdue fines, was unable to pay $300 in fines for driving on a suspended license and went to jail for 10 days. When she got out, she owed $200 more on top of the original amount. Both she and her husband are unemployed.

The AP has a round up of the charges that the ACLU levels against Ohio, writ large:

  • In the second half of last year, more than one in every five of all bookings in the Huron County jail
  • Originating from Norwalk Municipal Court cases — involved a failure to pay fines.
  • In suburban Cleveland, Parma Municipal Court jailed at least 45 defendants for failure to pay fines and costs between July 15 and August 31, 2012.
  • During the same period, Sandusky Municipal Court jailed at least 75 people for similar charges.

Court officials have pledged to look into the accusations.In 2011, ThinkProgress reported on how the deep recession and loss of employment had led to a return of debtor’s prisons. People were reportedly put in jail for something as small as missing a single furniture payment.

via Report: Ohio Is Illegally Throwing Poor People In Jail For Owing Money | ThinkProgress.

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Insurance Law – Reckless Rich Pay Less Than Safe Poor Drivers

January 30, 2013

The Consumer Federation of America did a mystery shopper review of several auto insurers and found that drivers with at-fault accidents paid lower premiums than drivers with spotless records — provided that the careless driver was rich and well-educated and the careful driver was a single renter without an advanced degree.

via American insurers charge reckless rich drivers less than safe poor drivers – Boing Boing.

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Season’s Greetings

December 17, 2012

 seasons_greetings

Thank you for the pleasure of your friendship and goodwill
during the past year.

We wish you a wonderful holiday season and a New Year full of happiness and prosperity.

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Law School Litigation – Saying ‘Labels Matter,’ Judge Permits Law School Alumni Suit Over Job Stats

December 10, 2012

I had blogged about this before and the many pending cases against various law school for having mislead potential students in providing flawed statistics of the employment potential of their graduates. This is another damning finding by a judge that pushes these law schools deeper in the hole they appear to have dug for themselves… I will be curious to know how it all ends. Read on:

A judge has denied Thomas Jefferson School of Law’s motion for summary judgment against the lead plaintiff in a class action suit by four graduates who say they were tricked into attending the school by misleading post-graduate job statistics.

The judge, in a final order PDF Thursday, also overruled the law school’s demurrer to the plaintiffs’ fourth amended complaint, the California equivalent of a motion to dismiss.

In its motion for summary judgment, the school had argued that all of lead plaintiff Anna Alaburda’s claims were barred by the statute of limitations. It also argued that Alaburda had not established that she was injured because she was offered a full-time job as a lawyer making $60,000 a year within nine months of graduation.

But San Diego Superior Court Judge Joel M. Pressman rejected both of those arguments. He said there was insufficient evidence that Alaburda knew about the school’s alleged misleading job statistics until she read a New York Times article about law schools manipulating employment data that mentioned Thomas Jefferson in the New York Times in 2011.

In response to the school’s second argument, Pressman said that Alaburda wasn’t bargaining for a job, but for a legal education, and that representations regarding that legal education are material to the decision to enroll.

He cited a case involving the purchasers of a lock set who claimed they had been deceived by the lock-maker’s misrepresentations that they had been manufactured in the U.S.

“Simply stated, labels matter,” Pressman wrote. “Labels on locksets and ‘labels’ on higher education. Consumers’ rights to make informed, educated decisions when determining an education investment depends upon transparency and accurate information. To the extent that misrepresentations are made, consumers are injured by enrolling in an institution that is not what it purported to be.”

via Saying ‘Labels Matter,’ Judge Permits Law School Alumni Suit Over Job Stats – News – ABA Journal.

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