July 20, 2023 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm #2209859
It’s high time that Congress and the State Legislatures enact real tort reform. Some of the reforms needed include:
Caps on damages. Enough with the insane, excessive and random awards.
Reforms to punitive damages: Make it more difficult for plaintiffs to receive unfair punitive damages.
Medical malpractice reform: Limits on non-economic damages, reducing the statute of limitations, and requiring certificates of merit to cut down on unfounded malpractice lawsuits.
Loser pays legal fees to discourage frivolous lawsuits.
Changes to the burden of proof: make the plaintiffs prove that the defendant was negligent, or that their negligence caused their injuries, rather than the low, random and often arbitrary threshold currently in use in most jurisdictions.
Restrictions on venue shopping: Stopping plaintiffs from shopping around for courts and jurisdictions.
Limits on joint and several liability: Modifying the joint and several liability rule that allows plaintiffs to collect full damages from any one defendant, even if others are more at fault.
Statutes of limitations: Setting time limits for how long after an injury that a lawsuit can be filed.
Expert witness reforms: Changing rules about expert testimony in trials to limit junk science.
Alternative Dispute Resolution: The law should encourage mediation and arbitration, as a way to resolve disputes more efficiently and cost-effectively compared to litigation.
Choice of legal counsel: Allow parties to select non-lawyers to represent them in court, after being duly advised of said risks.July 20, 2023 4:20 pm at 4:20 pm #2209959
This be politically involved lawyer (who has never taken a plaintiff in any of the types of tort actions you post) can tell you with certainty that state legislatures and Congress that have lawyer majority memberships will not pass meaningful tort reform.
They will not vote to cut their incomes or the incomes of their contributors.July 20, 2023 6:46 pm at 6:46 pm #2209978
CTL: I don’t necessarily disagree with your realpolitik analysis. But, certainly, the reforms I describe are morally needed and the best and proper way for the law to prescribe. And one can certainly hope the political environment will change in the future to permit implementation of these tort reforms.July 20, 2023 6:46 pm at 6:46 pm #2209980
@CTL, sadly how very true, at least try to litigate is a costly venue.July 20, 2023 6:51 pm at 6:51 pm #2209984GadolhadorahParticipant
For reasons CTLawyer so eloquently stated, any type of meaningful tort reform is DOA in most state legislative bodies because of the numbers of attorneys in those bodies, but even more importantly, the massive dollars the plaintiffs bar contribute to candidates and PACs. Some of the worst examples are Texas and Mississippi which are the venues of choice for class actions and individual tort actions. Also popular is California which enacts all sorts of crazy regulatory requirements which then trigger thousands of complaints of de minimis violaitons. The worst example (or best if you are a plaintiffs lawyer) are for violations of the California version of the ADC where small businesses are constantly sued for “inaccessible” bathrooms and counters, etc. The Supreme Court has made it a bit more difficult to bring class actions in federal courts but has little control over the states.July 20, 2023 8:26 pm at 8:26 pm #2209999
You of course realize that I was not disagreeing with your desire, but explains why it won’t happen anytime soon.
The CTL firm doesn’t do Personal Injury, Medical Malpractice or most of those things whose awards you find offensive. We have done some pro-bono civil rights and ADA litigation, but only seeking changes in procedures, coverage of reasonable expenses and attorneys’ fees as 1/3 our usual billing rates and an award in damages to the client in the amount of $1.
I taught an AP Government class in a local public high school this past semester. A visiting parent in a wheelchair made a stink about not being abl to access the water fountain and was demanding the installation of lower fountains and $100,000 damages. I defended the school district. When I cross examined the plaintiff I took out a photo of the cup holder in the side of the fountain and the protruding paper cone cups. I asked by that didn’t satisfy the plaintiff. She replied she shouldn’t have to be different than anyone else. I said you are different than everyone else in this courtroom, you are the only one in a wheelchair but still got your day in court. The judge ruled the paper cups were a reasonable accommodation and ruled for the school district and awarded the school district attorneys fees of 50% of billing.July 20, 2023 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm #2210016Always_Ask_QuestionsParticipant
congress? are these federal issues? can any of these be addressed in your state?July 20, 2023 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm #2210032
So, just like with anything in this country, you need the other side to have more money to sway the oligarchy. There should be some big financial interests on the pro-tort-reform side; I would imagine insurance companies for example.July 21, 2023 9:38 am at 9:38 am #2210046
@Neville, you are obviously clueless on how insurance works, everything is driven by the probability of loss and loss cost, for example someone who lives on the San Andras fault pays more in earthquake insurance then someone in Iowa, if there will ever be tort reform premiums will drop because your loss cost will drop.
The only ones against tort reform are the plaintiff lawyers, make to thank them about the high cost of insurance.July 21, 2023 9:39 am at 9:39 am #2210072BaltimoreMavenParticipant
UJM and other critics
I hope you never need an attorney to represent you
I hope you are never injured and get a small tort award
There is a jury system set out in the law for a reason. You think you know better than the jury. Vote with your feet and move to Canada.July 21, 2023 9:41 am at 9:41 am #2210079ubiquitinParticipant
I agree completely
(not sure if that worries you or maybe even a broken clock…)July 21, 2023 11:01 am at 11:01 am #22101012scentsParticipant
Tort reform presents both advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, it compels healthcare providers to practice defensive medicine, which some argue benefits patients. However, on the other hand, it significantly escalates healthcare costs, ultimately burdening regular individuals with the expenses.
What is truly troubling is that the main impediment in this situation is the attorneys, who seem to prioritize their own enrichment.July 21, 2023 11:04 am at 11:04 am #2210102
@Baltimore maven, I have been on both sides of coin, I was hit by a car when I was a boy, spent six weeks in the hospital, I am employed as a risk manager and I can tell you the system is rife with fraud, especially in New York. The entire system needs to be revamped.July 21, 2023 11:54 am at 11:54 am #2210107
“awarded the school district attorneys fees of 50% of billing.”
This is not quite an award. It’s pulling money from one person to give it to another.
This is why people who actually can’t afford these “awards” can’t take their offenders to court. You can’t really tell in this country if you’ll win no matter how just your cause, and you might end up way worse than you started. The authors of the constitution thought that they resolved this issue, but nah.July 21, 2023 1:25 pm at 1:25 pm #2210109
Common Seychel: That was my whole point… I was saying that insurance companies would be pro-tort reform because it would drive down their costs. I reread my comment to make sure I wasn’t unclear, and I definitely wasn’t. You might want to work on not getting so worked up and lashing out at others over your inability to understand basic rhetoric.July 21, 2023 2:00 pm at 2:00 pm #2210113DaMosheParticipant
In some cases I agree. But in others, not so much.
Let’s look at a theoretical case – big pharma releases a medication without proper testing, using their political clout to push it through government approvals. Then it causes damage to its users, and they get sued.
If they are limited in how much they have to pay out, it won’t matter to them. Their profits will far outweigh the payouts. They need to be held accountable through punitive damages, otherwise it’s a simple cost/benefit analysis that tells them to continue pushing out bad products.
Tobacco companies would have the same issue. They’d abandon the warnings on the labels, and start advertising like crazy again, because they won’t be held accountable as they should be.
Soo for small businesses, yes, there should be some type of limits. Maybe limit when there isn’t gross negligence? That might be a better option.July 21, 2023 3:03 pm at 3:03 pm #2210115akupermaParticipant
The system’s primary goal is to provide parnasah for lawyers, including the “Trial Bar” (plaintiff’s lawyers), and the Defense/Insurance Bar ( since many defendants have liability insurance), and the system works very well. They probably could make it a bit easier for victims to get compensation (if a company immediately admits a mistake and agrees to pay damages, give them immunity from punitive damages and class actions), and they could increase the incentive not to bring silly lawsuits (though the threat of not getting paid discourages lawyers from bringing truely silly ones). There are many Yidden working as lawyers, so we shouldn’t complain. While there are some negative macroeconomic aspects, freedom to litigate is a much better way to solve problems than what other countries do resolve problems (e.g. blood feuds).July 21, 2023 3:18 pm at 3:18 pm #2210127
Why shouldn’t the plaintiff who filed a baseless and frivolous lawsuit (having suffered no injury) be forced to pay half defendant’s legal fees? Why should the taxpayers foot the bill?
In this case the plaintiff’s attorney who brought the case is awaiting disciplinary action by the State Bar.July 21, 2023 5:14 pm at 5:14 pm #2210139
@Neville, insurance is a mere pass through, if the cost of claims are low premiums are low and vise versa.
@ CTL “In this case the plaintiff’s attorney who brought the case is awaiting disciplinary action by the State Bar.”
I have yet to see that happen.
Edited! 🤨July 21, 2023 5:15 pm at 5:15 pm #2210138
“Why shouldn’t the plaintiff who filed a baseless and frivolous lawsuit”
Because there’s no objective definition of “frivolous and baseless” and it could lead to the little guy who can’t afford a fancy lawyer getting victimized twice.July 21, 2023 6:15 pm at 6:15 pm #2210148
You can’t call it frivolous and also be proud of winning the case. If the judge took the time, and it wasn’t based on heretofore unknown information then how can the judge call it frivolous only after being convinced by the lawyer’s logic?July 23, 2023 12:00 am at 12:00 am #2210246
@akuperma, I needed to tone it down by the mods.
“There are many Yidden working as lawyers, so we shouldn’t complain.” that comment ranks up there among the silliest that I have seen, should we encourage smoking, or poor eating habits because there are many Yidden working as doctors?
should we encourage reckless driving because many yidden own body shops? should we fight Alzheimer’s research because many yidden work in long term care? Should we lower building codes because many yidden work as builders, the list goes on and on.July 23, 2023 8:51 am at 8:51 am #2210258BaltimoreMavenParticipant
Part of tort reform is doing away with many clasa actions. Do you realize that too many times we have needed class actions to accomplish changes that never otherwise would have happened? Asbestos. Cigarettes. Car manufacturers who deliberately choose to avoid a recall to fix a defect because the recall will cost more than paying out a few wrongful death claims. It’s easy to criticize the system until you need it. If there is fraud then address that, not taking down the entire systemJuly 23, 2023 8:51 am at 8:51 am #2210289
Sanctions by the State Bar happen much more frequently than you think (in some states). The plaintiff’s attorney will not be fined or suspended, but probably ordered to take a class on current ADA regs and reasonable accommodations.
BTW: he had never visited the school and viewed the suspect fountain, just sent a investigator out to measure its height, when picture of cups/holder presented at trial, his jaw dropped and his face turned red in embarrassmentJuly 23, 2023 10:20 am at 10:20 am #2210315
Baltimore: Class action suits where the lawyers walk away with $30 million while each of the people in the class who were harmed get $30 each? That $30 doesn’t correct their harm; it just lines the lawyers wallets — and raises prices for American consumers, who are later paying for the grossly disproportionate rewards every time they purchase a product or service.
And that’s even assuming there was some actual harm, rather than the company settling simply to avoid the costs and risks of litigation, where some otherwise uneducated or vagrant mathematically-challenged jurors trying to wrap up early to get home add some zeros to the end of the dollar figure of the award.July 23, 2023 10:20 am at 10:20 am #2210314
@CTL, I have dealt with torts for 20 + years and have yet to see an Attorney sanctioned for bringing a frivolous suit in NY or NJ.July 23, 2023 10:21 am at 10:21 am #2210312
@Baltimore Maven, for every one legitimate class action there are 99 frivolous suits, for example we are currently defending a suit that our firm discriminates against Central Americans in spite of the fact the 90% of our work force is Central Americans, the average payout of lawyers in a class action is 1.96 Million, and the class members getting between $20 to $50,000, its a system crying for change.
BTW what do you do for a living?July 23, 2023 10:21 am at 10:21 am #2210308ubiquitinParticipant
“Part of tort reform is doing away with many clasa actions… ”
That isnt one of the reforms that ujm mentioned . what do you mean it is “part of tort reform” IT isnt part of his suggested reformsJuly 23, 2023 1:58 pm at 1:58 pm #2210352
What we have is all Americans paying for the malpractice of some doctors, instead of those doctors being punished. Since no one can be sure that they’ll win a court case, even if they’re right, so they buy malpractice insurance — a bazzare concept — and make their customers pay for their new cost of business. Who wins? Who loses?
Is this really impossible to fix? This was a conversation many years ago and then for some reason it got buried.July 23, 2023 2:13 pm at 2:13 pm #2210355
HaLeiVi: In your estimation or view, how could the system or law best be changed to fix the problem you described?July 23, 2023 6:49 pm at 6:49 pm #2210361
I am proud of protecting the school system and taxpayers from paying out on this frivolous lawsuit. I did not label it baseless and frivolous, the judge did in ruling against the plaintiff and admonishing her lawyer,July 23, 2023 6:50 pm at 6:50 pm #2210363
No, it is rare in NY and NJ, but in CT we don’t elect trial and appellate level judges (only probate). Thus, judges don’t have to raise election funds or garner votes or seek endorsements and are far mor free to admonish attorneys and refer to the bar disciplinary committee.
I never held a NJ license, and while I hold NY along with CT, MA and FL it is my plan to surrender NY and MA December 31 as my 70th birthday approaches and stop paying license fees, insurance and Bar Dues in those states. It’s years since I’ve needed the licenses. Now I just have my licensed adult children or their spouses handle things in those states.July 23, 2023 6:51 pm at 6:51 pm #2210364GadolhadorahParticipant
SCOTUS has substantially reduced the number of class actions in FEDERAL courts in recent years by making it more difficult to certify a class at the district court level. That doesn’t solve the problem in state courts where a larger number of these cases are being filed.July 23, 2023 6:51 pm at 6:51 pm #2210397
By having more than one person working on it seriously and honestly. I don’t think the solution should hang on a single person’s idea. And it it very sensible to raise an issue without already having the solution beforehand.
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