Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Tort Bar’s Senate Undertaker

It’s good to be a Senator, especially if you are a Republican who is the most important opponent of tort reform on Capitol Hill. Witness the largesse that the plaintiffs bar is bestowing on South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham in its moment of maximum political peril. On Thursday Mr. Graham was feted in Houston at a fundraiser hosted by Mark Lanier, who can afford it. The Lanier Law Firm has vacuumed up some $13 billion in tort verdicts over the years from Vioxx to asbestos. The invitation asks Mr. Lanier’s tort comrades to share their wealth to the tune of $500 to $5,400 for “Team Graham.” “Our goal is to show Senator Graham an appreciation from both sides of the bar for what he can help do, especially with tort reform running rampant from the house,” Mr. Lanier added in an email. “It will take Senator Graham to help educate folks and lead the charge from the Republican side.” Mr. Graham has every right to take campaign cash from all comers, and in this case he is a true believer. He’s long fought tort reform, and his legal friends have rewarded him with some $3.7 million over his 24-year Senate career….

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A Doctor’s Place is in the Exam Room

An orthopaedic surgeon and a neurosurgeon walk into a room… Unfortunately, this is not the start of a joke. While we would prefer to be sharing best practices and treating patients in our exam rooms, the fact is we’re spending more time than we’d like in a courtroom. Because our medical liability system is broken, orthopaedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, OB-GYNs and other specialty physicians continue to find themselves on the receiving end of meritless lawsuits. As a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon practicing for more than 40 years in Iowa City, I’ve seen countless colleagues forced to defend their treatment decisions and reputations — leaving less time for patients — only for the lawsuits to be dropped, dismissed or withdrawn for lack of merit. Our medical liability system costs too much, takes too long, undermines the doctor-patient relationship and does not serve the needs of patients or physicians. Too often, the cost of defensive medicine — the tests and procedures above and beyond what is medically necessary to limit exposure to litigation — is tacked on to health care bills, leading to steep increases in costs year after year. When applied to 2015 health care spending, defensive medicine adds anywhere from $160 billion…

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Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s State of the State address

Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, members of the Legislature, members of the Board of Public Works, justices of the Supreme Court of Appeals, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and my fellow West Virginians. Forty years ago on a night much like tonight, I joined my fellow Legislators in this beautiful chamber as a young man and a recent college graduate just elected to the House of Delegates and wondered what on earth I had gotten myself into. Armed with little more than a fresh perspective and a passion to make my home state the best it could be, I was eager to take on the challenges I knew we faced as a state. On my first trip to the supply room to pick up my pens, papers and folders, I was stopped by the House clerk who wanted to know who the supplies were for. I said they were for me. And he responded, well, who are you? I said, I’m the new delegate from Logan County. I imagine my emotions and expectations were not unlike our state’s and our nation’s youngest lawmaker, Saira Blair, who finds herself in this Chamber as a member of the majority, working with a governor…

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