Category Archives: Virginia

December 2017 Newsletter

Year-end report sheds light on “Judicial Hellholes” The American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) end-of-year “Judicial Hellholes” report offers a public glimpse at the most unfriendly jurisdictions for those defending themselves against civil litigation, including medical liability lawsuits. At the top of the list this year was Florida, where once-strong medical liability reforms have been continuously rolled back at the expense of patients seeking affordable and accessible care. “This year, thanks to a state high court majority’s barely contained contempt for the policy-making authority of the legislative and executive branches of government, and a notoriously aggressive and sometimes lawless plaintiffs’ bar, Florida earns the ignominious #1 ranking among eight Judicial Hellholes…” said American Tort Reform Association president Tiger Joyce. Also high on the list was St. Louis, where “antiquated rules have made it a favorite of personal-injury lawyers shopping for big-money verdicts” resulting in $300 million in awards since 2015. However, recent changes in state government, including a governor in support of changes to the liability system, do hold promise for much-needed reform in the coming year. To read more about ATRA’s “Judicial Hellholes” executive summary and report on the where physicians and defendants fare the worst when it comes to…

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High Court’s Contempt for Lawmakers’ Authority, Lawsuit Rackets Place Florida atop Latest ‘Judicial Hellholes’ List

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 5, 2017 – The American Tort Reform Foundation issued its 2017-2018 Judicial Hellholes® report today, naming courts in Florida, California, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Illinois and Louisiana among the nation’s “most unfair” in their handling of civil litigation. “With both this annual report and a year-round website, our Judicial Hellholes program since 2002 has been documenting troubling developments in jurisdictions where civil court judges systematically apply laws and court procedures in an unfair and unbalanced manner, generally to the disadvantage of defendants,” began American Tort Reform Association president Tiger Joyce. “This year, thanks to a state high court majority’s barely contained contempt for the policy-making authority of the legislative and executive branches of government, and a notoriously aggressive and sometimes lawless plaintiffs’ bar, Florida earns the ignominious #1 ranking among eight Judicial Hellholes, even as authorities have begun to crack down on some of the lawsuit industry’s most obviously fraudulent rackets. “Ranked #2 is perennial hellhole California, where lawmakers, prosecutors and plaintiff-friendly judges inexorably expand civil liability at the expense of businesses, jobseekers and those desperately in need of affordable housing,” Joyce explained. “The good news is the U.S. Supreme Court in June reversed a…

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Panel Discussion Yields Insights into Future of Liability Reform

Taking part in a legal panel on the future of medical liability reform, HCLA chair Mike Stinson joined with legal experts and those supporting the interests of consumers to give insight on how efforts to change the currently broken system will evolve. Hosted by George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School and the school’s Law & Economics Center, the panel represented varying legal, industry, and patient interests. Speaking on behalf of PIAA and their government relations efforts, Stinson talked about the benefit of liability reforms to deserving patients and federal health care spending. “The proposals [under consideration] have been scored as providing significant federal savings if enacted by Congress,” Stinson commented. “Our interest is that we get a more uniform system of medical justice across the United States.” Pushing back on assertions by other panel members that federal liability reform is unnecessary or unconstitutional, Stinson stated that “the system needs to be corrected – it’s incredibly inefficient. When two-thirds of all claims are dropped, withdrawn, or dismissed because they lack merit, but still cost tens of thousands of dollars each to defend against, you’ve got a system that’s not working correctly.” To watch the medical liability reform panel discussion in…

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Offer SGR Solutions Not Complaints

The American Medical Association (AMA) is doing a disservice by not weighing in on how to pay for repealing the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula for physician reimbursement under Medicare, a member of Congress said Thursday. During the second day of a hearing on repealing and replacing the SGR, Rep. Larry Bucshon, MD (R-Ind.), a cardiac surgeon and member of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, asked Barbara McAneny, MD, chair of the AMA’s board of trustees, if the AMA could offer “substantial possible pay-fors” to cover the cost of the repeal. The Congressional Budget Office last year put the cost at about $140 billion over 10 years. But McAneny, an oncologist in Albuquerque, N.M. who testified on the AMA’s behalf, declined to do so. “Within the healthcare sector, so many are struggling now to keep the doors open, so for us to come up with specific pay-fors may not be as useful until there are some guidelines set up by Congress,” she said. “The AMA stands ready to assist and help by weighing in on any specific suggestions; we don’t really have the ability to give you specific pay-fors, because the devil is in the details.” Bucshon expressed…

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