Opponents of malpractice caps begin ads

Associated Press
Monday, April 21, 2003

A woman who had a double mastectomy following a laboratory mix-up and a couple whose young son died of dehydration play lead roles in ads designed to stir opposition to legislation capping jury awards in medical malpractice cases.

"I've got 31 inches of scars on my chest," Linda McDougal says in a television commercial that begins airing this Wednesday in seven states. "... A group of politicians wants to take my rights to a trial by jury away."

The ads mark the latest salvo in a struggle over Republican-backed legislation to limit medical malpractice awards. The House has passed a White House-endorsed measure to cap pain and suffering awards at $250,000 and limit punitive damages as well. Senate Republicans have made the bill a priority, but there is no date set for debate.

The commercials are backed by two activist groups, USAction and the Center for Justice and Democracy. A spokeswoman said the three commercials will run at a cost of roughly $225,000.

That's a relatively small amount for ads in seven states, but Joanne Doroshow of the Center for Justice and Democracy, called it an initial effort. "We have every intention of continuing this campaign as soon as we get some clarity" on the Senate's schedule for the legislation, she said.
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.

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