If John Edwards can do it, why not you?

New York Lawyer
Friday, July 30, 2004

Win or lose in November, John Edwards is assuredly two things today: chief whipping boy for the vociferous tort reform lobby, and a new hero to New York colleagues who cheer his success as an attorney in persuading juries to award hundreds of millions of dollars to injured clients.

"The liability tort system is designed so that we carefully screen our cases, so that we are discouraged from taking the less meritorious of cases," said Mr. Pegalis, who began his practice in 1964 with personal injury cases. "Most victims of malpractice can't afford to finance their cases, so we've got to do that. I'm not sure why conservative Republicans who believe in free enterprise incentive and the strongest surviving don't like this system. To be successful as a plaintiffs' attorney in medical malpractice, you've got to be good. Otherwise, economically you're going to fall by the wayside."
The AMA has declared 20 states in "full-blown medical liability crisis" due to the nation's "out-of-control legal system." But in January, the General Accounting Office issued an investigative report in five of those states, finding little in the way of crisis. Instances of reduced access to medical care, according to the GAO, either could not be substantiated or were attributable to "long-standing factors" other than liability insurance.
"What's really driving the call for tort reform today," said Joanne Doroshow, president and executive director of the New York-based Center for Justice & Democracy, "is price-gouging by the insurance industry to make up for lost investment income."
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.

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