President seeks caps on verdicts

New York Sun
Thursday, January 6, 2005

The president will extend the push today, when he is to meet with members of Congress from both parties to resuscitate legislation that would curb class action lawsuits. Tomorrow, he is expected to travel to Michigan to call for limits on the growing numbers of asbestos-related lawsuits.
Trial lawyers, Democrats, and other critics of the malpractice proposal are fighting back with a publicity campaign highlighting the horrors of medical errors and disputing assertions that jury awards to victims are to blame for rising health care costs. One television ad features a woman who had both breasts removed in a mistaken cancer diagnosis.

A coalition of advocacy groups, the Americans for Insurance Reform, said caps on jury awards would not reduce insurance premiums that are high for unrelated reasons.
"The causes of the problems are the business and accounting practices of the insurance industry, and the fact that they have lost investment income due to dropping interest rates which began a few years ago, and are taking it out on doctors and policyholders," said the founder of the coalition, Joanne Doroshow.
The coalition was organized by the Center for Justice and Democracy, which received seed money from a filmmaker and critic of the president, Michael Moore.
The president of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, Todd Smith, said the president is "perpetuating myths" and diverting attention from the rising costs of drugs, hospitals, and "record insurance profits that increased 1,000% last year."
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.

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