Juries unfairly blamed in tort 'reform' clash

Mississippi’s Clarion-Ledger
Friday, September 6, 2002

One of the most intense debates in recent memory has revolved around tort reform, which the Legislature tackled on Thursday in a special session.

The issue, particularly the medical malpractice insurance element, has evolved into clash of the titans with doctors, hospitals, the insurance industry and lawyers regarding the root of the "crisis" and how it should be addressed.

Reformers say juries, particularly those in mostly black Claiborne, Hinds Holmes and Jefferson counties, are returning outrageous verdicts that are driving up medical malpractice premiums and driving away business and industry. They are convinced these juries, preoccupied with "jackpot justice," must be stopped, preferably by, among other things, placing limits on non-economic damages. It's something that 21 other states have already implemented, which is supposed to help insurance companies determine their risk in offering and pricing premiums.

Doctors claim that caps are the only way they can afford insurance and insist caps are the only way to save the state's medical profession.

Don't believe the hype.

Figures tell another story


Nationwide, plaintiffs won 23 percent of the medical malpractice cases that went to trial last year, which is down from 30.5 percent in 1992, according to the New York-based Center for Justice and Democracy.

For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.

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