Tort Reform: Beating Back the Beating Back

By March 14, 2008Briefly Legal, Health Care

Last week we noted the recent successes the plaintiff’s bar had in beating back medical malpractice reforms, including the defeat of a bill in Hawaii’s legislature to limit non-economic damages.

Now there’s new news from the islands, good news:

The original house bill died a couple of weeks ago when the judiciary committee refused to hear it, but Wednesday, the health committee passed a revised version of a senate bill that keeps tort reform alive.

The bill still many hurdles to cross, but its revival today indicates there’s enough support to at least give it a fighting chance.

“This is a crisis, that is here today,” said Dr. Goto. “Physicians are leaving the state and cutting back on their practices.”

The American Tort Reform Association has a new white paper out on anti-reform agenda being driven by tort lawyers, “Defrocking Tort Reform: Stopping Personal Injury Lawyers from Repealing Existing Tort Reforms and Expanding Right to Sue in State Legislatures.” From the news release, quoting Sherman “Tiger” Joyce, ATRA’s president:

“The front-page prosecutions of Bill Lerach and Dickie Scruggs, coupled with various tort reform court victories in recent years, make it easy enough for some in the media and elsewhere to believe that the plaintiffs’ bar is in retreat…

But as this new white paper makes clear, personal injury lawyers and their allies are still aggressively, if subtly, on the march, particularly at the state level. Their drive to expand liability and litigation markets has been quiet, but it’s robust and as opportunistic as ever.

The full paper is available here as a .pdf file.

Leave a Reply