If We’re Going to Move Toward Canadian Health Care …

The Canadian Caucus of the American Association for Justice — the trial lawyers lobby — is holding a day-long series of educational and training sessions Sunday at the AAJ’s annual convention in Vancouver, B.C., “Torts Canadian Style: Preparation, Persuasion & Presentation.”  Here’s one session that makes for an interesting comparison to the U.S. legal and health care system:

In 1978, the Supreme Court of Canada decided a “trilogy” of personal injury cases that imposed a judicial cap on non-pecuniary damages of $100,000 (currently approximately $300,000 revised for inflation).  Two leading Canadian lawyers will discuss strategies for litigating under the Canadian cap, and for expanding claims for pain and suffering to the fullest extent possible. Commentary from the bench will follow these presentations.
     • Barbara Legate (ON)
     • Joseph Murphy (BC)
     • The Hon. Justice Nate Smith (BC)

What do you know? Liability caps!

Last summer’s AAJ convention in San Francisco drew just a tish of media attention due to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s closed-to-the-press speech. The AAJ has yet to publicize its major speakers at this year’s event — any leading U.S. politicians or candidates? — although trial lawyer extraordinaire Ron Motley will receive the AAJ’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

There’s also an interesting storyline developing, if the media choose to pursue it: How the association will deal with its continuing financial and membership problems, acknowledged with refreshing frankness by Dallas personal injury lawyer Mary McLarty, running for association vice president. The AAJ recently elevated its top D.C. lobbyist, Linda Lipsen, to chief executive officer, is hiring a chief operating officer, and  members will vote on a dues increase in Vancouver.

Plenty of interesting storylines, really. For example, the incoming president of the AAJ is a trial attorney with the Alabama firm of Beasley Allen, which is focusing law firm resources on litigation tied to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Will the AAJ under Gibson Vance turn into an arm of the powerful, politically connected Beasley Allen? Will AAJ leadership direct the association’s lobbying efforts in Congress on oil spill liability?

Yep. Many topics of journalistic interest. We await the in-depth reporting and analysis.

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