Archives: November 2016

November 2016 Newsletter

  Electing an opportunity for medical liability reform With the election giving Republicans a clear lead in Congress, and less than subtle hints that health care reform remains a priority, there is renewed hope that medical liability reform will be on the agenda in the 115th Congress. Earlier this year, Republicans gave voters a preview of their plans as their Health Care Task Force released proposals and outlines of initiatives – making liability reform a cornerstone of a health care system that will make services affordable and accessible to all Americans. Leading the Republican Health Care Task Force was Congressman Paul Ryan, who was re-elected this month as Speaker of the House and is expected to follow through on changes to the current health care system. “We know that comprehensive medical liability reform that includes caps on non-economic damages will improve patients’ access to quality care while reducing the overall cost of health care in America,” the Republican Health Care Task Force report states. “Our plan will include liability reform that includes caps on non-economic damage awards, ensuring plaintiffs can recover full economic damages and that patients will not have their damages taken away by excessive lawyer contingency fees.” Regardless,…

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The Battle Rages On for Malpractice Caps

More Tension Over Malpractice Caps A Florida appeals court is the latest judicial body to weigh in on the vexing issue of the state’s medical-malpractice cap, according to a report by The News Service of Florida, posted on News4Jax, among other news sites. In 2003, the Sunshine State legislature and then-Governor Jeb Bush approved a cap on noneconomic damages in medical-malpractice cases, arguing that the escalating liability insurance costs doctors were facing demanded such action. The law remained in place for more than a decade—until, that is, the state Supreme Court intervened. In 2014, after its review of a suit brought by the family of a woman who had died after giving birth in a Florida hospital, the high court ruled caps to be unconstitutional in wrongful-death cases. Then, in June of this year, the high court was asked to rule on the constitutionality of the state’s cap in personal-injury cases. Justices haven’t yet issued their ruling, but, in the interim, the state’s Second District Court of Appeal has handed down its own decision, which holds that damage caps are, in fact, unconstitutional in personal-injury cases. Earlier, another appeals court—the Fourth District Court of Appeal—reached a similar conclusion in the…

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I-LAW: Voters sent clear message in election – restore fairness to courts

Results of recent judicial elections in southern Illinois demonstrate that voters don’t want personal injury attorneys “ruling the court system,” according to a legal reform advocate. Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch executive director Travis Akin pointed to Fifth District Appellate Court races in which Judges John Barberis and James “Randy” Moore were targets of a last minute $1 million attack funded by local asbestos attorneys. But, in spite of negative advertising and mass robo calls, Republicans Barberis and Moore defeated Democrat judges Brad Bleyer and Jo Beth Weber by significant margins, 56 to 44 and 54-46 percent, respectively, in the district’s 37 counties. “Voters rejected the current system of lawsuit abuse in Illinois,” Akin told the Record. “They voted for change. They voted for reform. They voted for fairness in our courts. Voters are tired of Illinois being a destination for lawsuit tourists. They are tired of losing jobs and opportunities to surrounding states. They sent a clear message that they are tired of the gamesmanship in our courts and they want to end the cycle of abuse that has plagued our courts for far too long.” According to I-LAW, Illinois voters are “fed up” with the reputation that the state…

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