Opponents say anti-lawsuit movement favors industry, distorts facts

The New Standard
Monday, June 6, 2005

When Mark and Michelle Geyer found out that their 7-year-old daughter Jessie had died from a preventable infection, a sense of disbelief bled into their grief. Just a few days earlier, Jessie had been sent home to recover from "the flu" after two doctors had failed to properly diagnose and treat her, as Jessie's mother recalled before members of Congress earlier this year.
Believing their daughter would have lived if the hospital had performed the appropriate tests, Jessie's parents were determined to seek recourse.
But a California state law imposing limits on medical malpractice suits, combined with harsh market realities, erected a barrier between the family and the courts.

Other states have enacted similarly controversial restrictions on civil, or "tort," lawsuits, looking to limit the liability of corporations, hospitals and other entities. Such changes are ostensibly pursued in order to control rising insurance prices and combat what critics of the current system consider "frivolous" claims.
 The US Congress may soon follow suit, facing pressure to overhaul the tort system from the Bush administration and pro-business lobby groups.
The "tort reform" proposals introduced in this session of Congress range from medical liability award caps like California’s, to unprecedented restrictions on class action lawsuits.
 "Clearly, this effort to restrict liability is very broad," said Joanne Doroshow, a public interest lawyer and executive director of the Center for Justice and Democracy, a civil law advocacy group. "And the kind of laws that you're going to start seeing in Congress and [that] we've already been seeing at the state level, would limit liability for anybody who's sued, whether it's a toxic polluter or an HMO or a… manufacturer of defective cribs."
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D

Join Our Fight!

The Center for Justice & Democracy is the only national consumer organization in the country exclusively dedicated to protecting our civil justice system. If you'd like more information, please contact us.

Connect with us