Bush campaigns to curb lawsuits

Washington Post
Thursday, January 6, 2005

President Bush opened a campaign-style drive Wednesday to push through legislation curbing lawsuits, traveling to the epicenter in the debate over medical malpractice to paint a bleak picture of small communities crippled by runaway litigation.
In his first trip of the new year, Bush surrounded himself with doctors in white coats to argue that "junk lawsuits" were driving physicians out of places such as Collinsville, ranked by advocates as the friendliest place in the United States for trial lawyers chasing big awards. "You see firsthand what happens when the system gets out of control," he told a crowd of supporters.

Some consumer groups and trial lawyers acknowledge that skyrocketing premiums were creating a health care crisis in this part of southern Illinois but disagree about the cause. Rather than limit the ability of victims to recover damages, they said, the government should be going after profiteering insurance companies.
Joanne Doroshow, executive director of the Center for Justice & Democracy, a consumer advocacy organization, said the issue in this region is not about the legal system but about select judges who do not kowtow to business.
 "It's an attack on the judges in these counties," she said. "It's about how these business groups and conservative groups are trying to get rid of these judges. From a judicial independence point of view, it's really dangerous to be going after judges this way."
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.

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