01212017Headline:

Farmington Hills, Michigan

HomeMichiganFarmington Hills

Email Mark Bello Mark Bello on LinkedIn Mark Bello on Twitter Mark Bello on Facebook Mark Bello on Avvo
Mark Bello
Mark Bello
Attorney • (877) 377-7848

Is Utah’s Proposed Malpractice Screening Law a Good Thing?

39 comments

Under Utah law, all actions against medical professionals must be filed within 2 years of the date of the act resulting in the medical malpractice injury. Because of this limited time limit and in order to protect the rights of the innocent victims, a plaintiff’s attorney is often faced with the dilemma of whether to sue doctors who had limited contact with the victim and whose conduct may not have risen to the level that would suggest suit against them is appropriate. If an “innocent” doctor is forced into litigation, under those circumstances, that healthcare provider would incur significant costs to hire a defense attorney and prove his/her innocence.

A Utah medical malpractice reform bill that would limit who can be sued for medical malpractice, heads to the House after receiving support from both sides of the “litigation table.” The bill, as I understand it, introduces an independent case-screening panel to look at the fact situation and determine who, if anyone should be properly named as a defendant. It may seem unusual that trial lawyers, those who represent injured victims, would support a tort reform bill, but this one would help prevent unnecessary litigation against innocent doctors. This is no financial benefit to either plaintiff or trial lawyer in suing a doctor has is not responsible for the injury suffered. Contrary to the rhetoric of the US Chamber and the “tort reform” crowd, trial lawyers do not benefit from or support the filings of “frivolous lawsuits”. Trial lawyers only seek justice for their clients; politics (on either side) should never get in the way.

On the surface this law works to make sure that victims have a chance at justice against the correct wrongdoers; they ask for nothing more. However, history and skepticism in dealing with those who seek to enhance the profit margins of corporate wrongdoers suggests caution. Yet, it is rare that we have seen a “tort reform” measure supported by the plaintiffs’ bar. That’s because tort reform is never about the victim and always about protecting corporate wrongdoers. Sadly, in tort reform states, victims are rarely fully compensated while the medical malpractice insurers’ bank profits and doctors get away with figurative and literal murder. The unanswered question here is the constituency of the case-screening panel. An impartial, bipartisan, panel with professional on both sides of a case – doctors and trial lawyers – might be fair. If, however, the new law requires victims to plead their case to a group of doctors, hospital officials and insurance company representatives, I see a conflict of interest, a deck stacked against the plaintiff, and a typically bad piece of “tort reform” legislation. Time will tell; it is refreshing that bipartisan support was sought and achieved. But this writer remains skeptical; when it comes to medical malpractice and politics, a trial lawyer is usually left holding his nose.

39 Comments

Have an opinion about this post? Please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

  1. Jim O'Hare RPLU AIC AIS says:
    up arrow

    Dear Mark – Is it really about justice? It has always been about money, has it not. Justice is a subjective concept like pain and suffering. Money is objective, and THE objective. You can win the trial and get an award of 50 bucks. So justice was done right?

    Panels do not work and are a waste of money. They had thm in NY thru the 80’s and 90’s. It had no teeth, and went the way of the dinosaur. If you had a finding for you or against you the jury heard about it and then – so what.
    Good idea on paper it sank in practical terms.

    Tort reform does not always favor the “corporate wrongdoers” Really Mark?

    Regarding plaintiffs rarely being fully compensated. The case is worth exactly what they say yes to in settlement. To me, that is fully compensated. A verdict is the voice of the people. It is a great voice when awarding lotto P&S figures, but not otherwise?

    There is alot that can be done to improve it all- mandatory insurance for one. Something to trim down vicarious liability, so the corporate wrongdoers dont hold the bag everytime. A certificate of merit provides some degree of credibility, even though it isnt hard to find and wont invite defendants that shouldnt be there. More nurses= less fatigue, get rid of the archaic 72 hour resident shifts, to further diminish fatigue and improve communication. These things would work. Will 25 million more patients coming into the system, there will be more med mal claims as fatigue will increase and communication decrease.

    Get rid of the EMR’s or make them uniform , as someone who reads them- they suck. Every hospital is different and they provide no chronological story. There is plenty that can be done, doing it is the hard part. Plaintiff or defendant- are these suggestions the bees knees or just the cats meow??
    regards
    Jim

  2. jc says:
    up arrow

    Since 80-85% of medical malpractice cases which go to court are won by the defendant doctor, the doctor is one of the victims in medical malpractice cases.
    I say an important reform is to force plaintiff attorneys to take additional training or an internship before they are allowed to file medical malpractice cases. That would keep bozo plaintiff attorneys from filing frivolous malpractice litigation.

  3. Mark Bello says:
    up arrow

    Dr. Cox: Don’t you have anything else to argue rather than your tired “85%” statistic? You KNOW that the vast majority of cases that are filed in court are SETTLED in favor of the plaintiff, yet you never include that fact in your “statistic”. You KNOW that over 200,000 people are killed, each year, by medical mistakes, but you ignore that statistic, as well. You also KNOW that part of that “85%” loss number, if it is a real statistic, includes losses that should have been wins and cases that, although lost, were not “frivolous” and were tried by well-trained, excellent lawyers. There are talented lawyers on BOTH sides of a case; your statistic ignores that. As to more training for lawyers, I have no problem with any profession working to make its members better at what they do. But the idea that inexperienced attorneys are filing “frivolous” cases in today’s very restrictive, very expensive legal climate is absurd. No one, including the lawyer, profits from the filing of worthless cases. Find a new and true argument, would you, please?

  4. Mark Bello says:
    up arrow

    Jim: “Justice” is your day in court, in front of a judge or a jury (litigant’s choice)’ in a free and uncluttered legal system, with the neutral trier of fact and law deciding liability and damages without any outside influence and no politically purchased restrictions on the outcome. I will not argue that “money” is not a factor. I do argue that we have three branches of government in this country; the constitution separates powers for a reason. When special interest money begins to influence the outcomes of trials, important civil rights are restricted. Those with money are provided an easier path to victory than those without. Those who are grievously injured see their awards limited and reduced to artificially low numbers by POLITICIANS, rather than independently elected judges or juries. THAT is not “justice” and the taxpayer is left with a bill for the difference. To your $50 point: YES! If a judge (not a political lackey, but a fair judge) or a jury determines that 50 bucks is a fair number, yes, that is “justice” as long as there was a full hearing on the merits of the case. But that justice has to include an unfettered ability to be awarded ANY amount the trier of fact determines to be fair and appropriate, without political influence limiting that award. I also agree that “justice” can be whatever the plaintiff settles for, but not when the system restricts the amount possible to such an artificially low amount, that the plaintiffs choices are virtually forced upon them because there is little more to achieve by going forward. The 7th Amendment should be just as important to America as the 2nd. That is the “justice” I seek.

  5. jc says:
    up arrow

    There Bello goes again. First off, finally Bello has acknowledged that 85% of malpractice cases which go to court are won by the defendant doc. An 85% failure rate by the plaintiff’s attorneys. A failure rate unmatched in American industry. Secondly Mark, your statistics about settled cases are all wrong. My medical malpractice carrier tells me that they settle on 16% of their cases and that comports well with my experiences. Most cases are thrown out. Of those that are settled I bet several of them get settled for nominal amounts (<10K) simply because the doc wants to get it over with after a legal fight which can last a decade. Actually, Mark, of the cases that go to court, only 15% win and less than half that number of patients even get enough money to cover their legal expenses, the plaintiff's attorney and legal expenses gobble up the entire award in most cases. (Can take >$100K in plaintiff legal expenses to win a case and the plaintiff’s attorney rakes in 40% of any award, so if the patient doesn’t win at least $150K, the patient get nothing.) What I see here is a legal system that victimizes the patient, the doctor and only benefits plaintiff attorneys. This is why we need to get rid of the current medical legal malpractice system.

  6. Mark Bello says:
    up arrow

    No, Dr. Cox, there YOU go again, twisting my words. 1.There was no acknowledgment of your stupid percentages, just a statement that whatever percentage of cases are won or loss, your statistic does not include those that SETTLED in plaintiff’s favor. 2. For the first time in history, you admit that SOME percentage of cases settle, an AMAZING (and probably painful) admission on your part. 3. The rest of your response is the usual, unsupported, “Cox says, so it must be true” nonsense that you always spout. Cite the unbiased resources for your statistics or stop spouting them as if they were true.

  7. Jim O'Hare RPLU AIC AIS says:
    up arrow

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. The 7th amendment is simple enough. Having handled med mal claims this long. Different states have lobby’s of different strengths. Plaintiffs bar in some states own the arguments, defendant’s in others.

    To remove the politics is a pipe dream. It has always been equal, I am ok with that, as long as I am more equal than you are. That is truly the way it is everywhere. No ?

    There needs to be a limit on P&S. Go wild with the other causes of action, the objective ones.We can argue the amount, but you still cant measure pain with a scale nor ruler, where every other cause of action can be measured. You can never assess subjectivity objectively. There are no tools for that. The concept of P&S was not a thought for the authors of the 7th amendment.

    Over 26 years handling claims, I have allowed a verdict nearly 100 times, about 4 per year. I have settled more than 1100 claims personally. Thoase settled with varying degrees of merit or a doc that just wasnt able to defend himself/ herself. From 5k to 9M.

    I openly took verdicts on what I thought was a slam dunk only. My defense counsel lost 6 of those and not one cost more than the policy limit. In poker they would be called Bad Beats. The 85% number gets thrown around like all cases were required to be tried and the field is just not level for the plaintiffs. Some cases are entirely defensible- those get tried.

    200k dead from medical mistakes yearly. This is goofy just thinking about it. Who is the registrar and what number do you call with the cause of death as another Med Mal. There is no hotline, just a guess by some JAMA nitwit trained in medicine and not statistics. I have also seen 96k/yr. Yes there is more than there should be and yes one is too many.

    Hello!. is this the bureau of med mal deaths? I have another for you. Think about this . Can we agree that this is NOT a fact by any definition. Lastly, frivelous suits have gone the way of the edsel. too expensive and severity is necessary to make it worthwhile. Regards Jim O’HAre RPLU AIC AIS

  8. Mark Bello says:
    up arrow

    Jim: I don’t have any disagreements with much of what you say; I agree that most cases that ultimately “go to verdict” are chosen to be tried by the DEFENDANT. At the end of the long litigation trail and after the best cases are resolved in the plaintiff’s favor, the doctors should win the lion’s share of the leftovers. Statistics would be more accurate if the medical and hospital communities would cease preventing the passage of legislation or rules that REQUIRE the formal and accurate reporting of injuries and deaths following medical mistakes. Then we could stop quoting “estimates”.

  9. jc says:
    up arrow

    I strongly encourage docs to fight medical malpractice cases all the way to a verdict in court!
    Most juries are sympathetic to docs and will give the doc the benefit of the doubt. So if it is equivical go to court! Most plaintiff attorneys are incompetent and lose even cases that they should win. As for frivolous malpractice suits, I see them all the time. You know, getting sued for a typographical mistake or a computer error – -or some adverse result blamed on a pt not taking his medicine on time. I believe the current med mal system benefits only plaintiff attorneys like Mark Bello. We need medical courts.

  10. Mark Bello says:
    up arrow

    Dr. Cox: “Juries are sympathetic; lawyers are incompetent. Cases that should win, lose”. If all of this is true, a bad doctor like you who wishes to “game the system” should love this system, no? It is OK with you that cases that should win, lose. That statement speaks volumes about the difference between you and me. And, if you had done even a small amount of research on me, you would have discovered that I am not a “plaintiff attorney” and I don’t directly or indirectly benefit from a fair justice system. I can do just fine in a fair justice system or a restricted one. I have no financial stake in this game. I simply believe in and advocate for victim’s rights and I believe, strongly, that the perpetrator, not the taxpayer, should pay for the harm he/she causes. You, apparently, stand for the perpetrator getting away with it and the taxpayer being left with the bill for it. You represent all that is wrong with the dark side of your profession.

  11. jc says:
    up arrow

    Mark, you believe that plaintiff’s attornies are gods gift to America. I believe the opposite. You are a bad attorney because you support the status quo- -all the money for the plaintiff’s attorney and little if anything for the patient. I do not know how anyone can support an 85% failure rate in anything. The 85% plaintiff attorney failure rate says everything that needs to be said about getting a new system. On this site I have frequently supported allowing doctors to countersue plaintiff attorneys for frivolous litigation. Plaintiff attorneys on this site (including you!) ignore this assertion, because they do not want to be held accountable for their own legal malpractice. So how about it Bello, should doctors be allowed to countersue plaintiff attorneys for frivolous litigation? Lets see if Bello has the guts to answer that question.

  12. Mark Bello says:
    up arrow

    John: I have ALWAYS fairly responded to your criticisms. Check the archives. But, the arguments are ALWAYS the same and I am, as of this moment, declaring that I have grown weary of your drivel and I am done responding to it. From now on, any comment you make to my posts will be answered with “see previous responses”. My sincere wish for you is that you are never catastrophically injured in the system you advocate.

  13. jc says:
    up arrow

    Alright Mark, exactly when and where did you answer my question regarding allowing doctors to countersue plaintiff attorneys for frivolous litigation. I would like to go back and read your answer if in fact you really did answer. As for your second assertion – -I would prefer to have a medical court with competent medical professionals evaluating my injury in a short period of time as opposed to having litigation drag on for years with plaintiff attorneys and judges who have no idea of what the heck they are doing.

  14. Mark Bello says:
    up arrow

    Dr Cox: See previous responses

  15. jc says:
    up arrow

    So Mark Bello was asked if doctors should be allowed to countersue plaintiff attorneys for filing frivolous malpractice suits? We can take Mark Bello’s recent answer as refusing to answer this question. Obviously, Mark Bello believes that plaintiff attorneys should not be held accountable for filing frivolous malpractice lawsuits. So Mark, thank you for finally answering this question. You can now get off your hypocrital soap box regarding victims and responsibility. Obviously all you are interested in is saving the plaintiff attorneys entitlements.

  16. Mark Bello says:
    up arrow

    Dr Cox: See Previous responses

  17. jc says:
    up arrow

    There he goes again refusing to answer a legitimate question. This is why the public hates attorneys.

  18. Mark Bello says:
    up arrow

    Dr. Cox: See previous responses

  19. Mark Bello says:
    up arrow

    To My Readers: Since Dr. Cox asked so nicely, below is a link to just one of the many times I answered the questions he poses, over and over again, in multiple Legal Examiner posts on the Malpractice issue, especially the one about a doctor’s ability to “counter-sue”. If the link fails, the post is June 22, 2012, “Michigan Malpractice Reform: Good for Bad Doctors; Bad for Good Citizens”. It is a good example of one of those Dr. John Cox comment rampages where he makes the same arguments he always makes and cites the same inaccurate statistics that he always cites. It is merely one example IN MANY where I (and others who post on this site) provided detailed responses to his self-serving drivel and why I will no longer respond to the same, tired statements and arguments each time he makes them. Its not that the question is not legitimate; it is that it has been asked and answered numerous times. When someone rants the way he does, I guess such a person just forgets or doesn’t care to read the rational responses that he gets. That is yet another reason why all of his comments will receive a “see previous responses” response. Thank you.

    http://farmingtonhills.legalexaminer.com/medical-malpractice/michigan-malpractice-reform-good-for-bad-doctors-bad-for-good-citizens-.aspx?googleid=302092

  20. jc says:
    up arrow

    Mark, I did read your previous post. In it you seemed to agree with me that docs should be allowed to counter-sue, but that you thought the legal system allowed that. I have personal experience that the courts will not allow sanctions against a plaintiff’s attorney no matter how eggregious and frivolous the litigation. I believe that it should be as easy for a doc to file a countersuit against a plaintiff’s attorney as it is for the plaintiff’s attorney to file a malpractice suit against a doctor. Let a jury decide whether it was a frivolous suit or not and let the doctor recoup damages to his reputation and career if indicated.

  21. jc says:
    up arrow

    Mark, in a previous post to which you refer, you stated that lawyers cannot make money filing frivolous litigation. I agree with you. Competent plaintiff attorneys will not file or will quickly dismiss non meritorous claims. But what about the other bozo plaintiff attorneys. Remember these lawyers are not performing brain surgery, any lawyer can file a malpractice lawsuit. These incompetent inexperienced plaintiff lawyers are where the frivolous malpractice suits come from. Mary had a bad result so our freshly minted plaintiff’s lawyer decides to take the case and sue. $50K – $100K in court costs later it becomes obvious to everyone that Mary had the bad result because of her disease or non-compliance. So our newly minted lawyer holds out forever and stalls hoping the doc will settle with him and reduce his losses. These are the cases my colleagues get hit with time and time again. What these bozo plaintiff attorneys are really doing is learning their trade on their poor clients and doctors. It would be the same as if an intern did brain surgery and tried to learn from his mistakes on live patients.
    No hospital would allow that. I am saying that the legal profession should also not allow that and there should be some additional training for lawyers before they are allowed to file malpractice litigation.

  22. Mark Bello says:
    up arrow

    Dr Cox: Since this was a more sensible comment, and not a repeat of your usual drivel, I will respond. If a lawyer brings a truly “frivolous” lawsuit, under the right set of circumstances,I could support a professional’s right to countersue, as long as the countersuit, itself, wasn’t frivolous. Fair and resaonable criteria would have to be created for such an event, but I believe that a lawyer who truly files a piece of junk (I don’t know what the economic benefit is of doing that, but I will go with your premise, here) should be held accountable. It is, however, absolutely, my experience that a judge has complete discretion to determine if a filing is frivolous and he can make such a finding and sanction and fine the lawyer. That’s why I think your argument for that right is moot. It already exists.

    Your constant accusation that I refuse to answer your questions is what grinds me the most, though. You say the same things in every comment and I answer them, over and over again. Then you get upset and accusatory when I won’t answer them for the 30th or 40th time. As an example, you have made your point with your inaccurate “failure rate” statistics, over and over, yet you refuse to make them accurate. I would not mind having a rational public discussion with you, but not an irrational one about the same old lies. If you persist with that behavior, the answer will be “See previous responses”. OK?

  23. Mark Bello says:
    up arrow

    Dr. Cox: Didn’t see your second comment until after I posted my response to the first. Again, this is almost a “see previous responses” post. Malpractice litigation is complicated and expensive to pursue. In my almost 40 years of experience, new “Bozo’s” do not engage; it is too expensive and complicated to do so and they risk sanctions for bringing bullshit cases. In my experience, they simply don’t do it. If, in your experience, you have encountered a “bozo” or two, I support your right, if the circumstances warrant, to pursue that “bozo”. The previous sample post is not the only time I have responded to you on this issue, just one example. My last two posts represent two more of many such responses. How about a rational response to these questions: Would you agree that most “tort reform” takes the form of a cap on damages? If so, how does a damage cap on serious cases prevent the filing of worthless cases filed by “bozo’s”?

  24. jc says:
    up arrow

    I would agree that most tort reform takes the form of a cap on pain and suffering damages. I personally feel such a cap is warrented because P & S damages cannot be objectively quantified, and juries can substitute P & S for punitive damages in egregious cases. Punitive damages remain unlimited. I am uncertian of the effect that damage caps have on frivolous cases. I personally focus on other issues in tort reform. Right now, the OSMA and I have proposed legislation to get rid of “Loss of a Chance” litigation in Ohio. I would like to see some accountability for expert witnesses. If the expert witness gets up there with some off the wall explanation, well there should be consequences for fraud like that. These reforms would be good for both doctors and lawyers. It doesn’t help the plaintiff’s attorney if his expert is proven to be a fraud on cross examination.

  25. jc says:
    up arrow

    I would agree that most tort reform takes the form of a cap on pain and suffering damages. I personally feel such a cap is warrented because P & S damages cannot be objectively quantified, and juries can substitute P & S for punitive damages in egregious cases. Punitive damages remain unlimited. I am uncertian of the effect that damage caps have on frivolous cases. I personally focus on other issues in tort reform. Right now, the OSMA and I have proposed legislation to get rid of “Loss of a Chance” litigation in Ohio. I would like to see some accountability for expert witnesses. If the expert witness gets up there with some off the wall explanation, well there should be consequences for fraud like that. These reforms would be good for both doctors and lawyers. It doesn’t help the plaintiff’s attorney if his expert is proven to be a fraud on cross examination.

  26. Mark Bello says:
    up arrow

    John: Your “personal feelings” aside, you agree with me about the link between tort reform and caps on damages. So, how in the hell does that type of reform (and, it almost ALWAYS takes that form) solve your pet peeve problem? It does NOTHING about the filing of “frivolous” lawsuits. It is, in essence, a solution without a problem. As to your expert witness idea, do the consequences for “fraud” cut both ways? If a doctor is a butcher and the DEFENSE expert says he is not, are there consequences to THAT lying expert in your proposal? At least you are now engaging in moderately sensible, theoretical, reform. I’m proud of you!

  27. jc says:
    up arrow

    I am not sure that caps on P & S damages solve frivolous malpractice litigation. As for consequences for fraudulent expert witnesses, it should cut both ways. To solve this, medical expert testimony should be considered the practice of medicine and subject to medical malpractice litigation. Docs would support this and plaintiff attorneys should also. It does the plaintiff attorney no good to put on a fraudulent expert who gets exposed on cross examination.

  28. Mark Bello says:
    up arrow

    “Not sure”????!!!! Of COURSE it doesn’t! That is the hypocrisy of “tort reform”. The “reformists” talk about “junk” lawsuits, then legislate caps on serious ones. That’s the big lie of tort reform. As to experts, the goal should be an honest call. I wouldn’t drag an innocent doctor through painful litigation with a junk case and neither would the vast majority of attorneys I have had the pleasure of knowing. We can agree the there are some negative examples of professionalism on both sides. I just, for the life me, cannot see the economic sensie of filing a “junk” lawsuit. It is just too expensive for too little return and no one will walk away happy with the experience. It just doesn’t make sense.

  29. jc says:
    up arrow

    Mark, I also do not see the sense in junk malpractice suits, but those are the types of lawsuits that my colleagues and I get hit with. They typically come from an inexperienced plaintiff attorney trying to break into malpractice law. I honestly got sued for 6 years for a typographical error on a report. I was not responsible for the typo and the mistaken report was not sent to the physician (it was sent to the plaintiff’s attorney). Turns out the subject of the report had no bearing on the patients medical condition, yet I was sued for 6 years before the case was thrown out on the court house steps! Another time I was sued simply because my name was on the chart. Well trained ethical lawyers won’t take these cases, but apparently inexperienced lawyers will! My colleagues and I will not settle frivolous cases which means that they can drag on for years sometimes a decade in the court system.
    Plaintiff’s are allowed delay damages if a doctor won’t settle a meritorous lawsuit, shouldn’t it cut both ways and let the doctor collect delay damages for having to wait years to clear his name? I have to assume that inexperienced plaintiff attorneys pursue these cases even after it becomes obvious that there is no malpractice because the plaintiff’s attorneys have sunk costs and they are trying to mitigate their losses.

  30. Mark Bello says:
    up arrow

    Dr Cox: I don’t see the value of filing suits like those you describe and I also think that appropriate sanctions should apply if an attorney files an obviously “junk” lawsuit. I don’t think that the same is true is cases where after discovered evidence demonstrates an absence of liability. I don’t think all doctors are “bad”, but there are many repeat offenders. I dont blame the entire medical profession for the behavior of those few. Thus, it bothers me that you use your limited personal experiences to degrade the the entire legal profession and the entire civil justice system. I don’t believe you should be sued frivolously nor do I believe you should have to defend a frivovolous case. Again, though, the tort reform effort does not focus on that problem. It ALWAYS involves a cap on serious cases and that causes a shift of the financial burden for wrongdoing from the negligent doctor or product maker to the victim and the taxpayer. If you read my posts, thoroughly, you will realize that it is damages caps on serious cases that I am often writing about. I do not support the filing of junk and I don’t care what the legal system does to those who file them. We clear?

  31. jc says:
    up arrow

    Mark, let us leave aside the issue of frivolous suits for awhile. I would like to discuss you concern relative to caps on damages. I know of no state that caps medical costs and lost wages as damages. States are caping “pain and suffering” (P&S) and I will concede the point that it probably does not affect frivolous suits. I strongly support caps on P&S for a several reasons. First P&S cannot be objectively quantified. Second, P&S is not an issue in worker’s comp cases. I cannot justify P&S if a leg is amputated at the hospital but if a leg is amputated at a factory, no P&S. Third, medicine is becoming like utilities. If you are sick you get to see a doctor regardless of your ability to pay. Society does not allow people to sue electric utilities for a power outage because we want to keep electicity rates low for everyone. ditto for medicine. Finally, no doctor that I know of purposely goes out and hurts a patient. The nightmare all docs worry about is being called to the hospital at night, being sleep deprived, missing something, getting sued, losing the case, your reputation, and going bankrupt after a lifetime of serving the community and saving patients – -now you have to go on welfare! Caps on P&S are justified to prevent that nightmare from happening.

  32. Jim O'Hare RPLU AIC AIS says:
    up arrow

    Dear Doc JC- Do you have enough coverage, at least $1 mil? Money well spent and you should have a dozen companies to choose from in this soft market. I agree re caps for P&S only, the real argument is the amount. There really is no need for caps on the objective causes of action as they can be measured. He could work 10 more yrs til 67 at $100k/yr = $1 mill in damages. Ok raises and cost of living another $250k – so all in, soaking wet = $1.25 m

    To Marks point- Attorneys can be sanctioned for frivolity and it just costs too much to bring a crapy case. I work for arguably the top plaintiff firm in Fla and we turn down 10 for every one accepted. As a former claims guy with 26 yrs exp, I would have paid on some of those that we turn down. Of those 10 turndowns, it may cost the firm $25k to get to the point that the merit is iffy. You cant look at it in a vacuum. The amount of med mal with merit that goes nowhere is plenty.

    RE reform ideas:

    a certif of merit seems fair.
    a PS cap at figure X
    trained med mal courts.
    mandatory mediations
    more arbitrations to free the courts and remove the hollywood.
    jury of peers, at least other professionals or a college degree.
    one expert per case for liability causation and damages.

    Reform is not that hard.

    Frequency is way down with severity the same.The carriers are doing great.

    Reform seems to make an uneven field for the medical community.

    The medical community doing the best we can but stuff happenens argument has no integrity. Get rid of the fatigue through better staffing and lose the archaic 72 hr weekend resident shifts- these are good solutions to minimize injuries and I consider great reform.
    Your thoughts?
    Regards
    Jim O’Hare RPLU AIC AIS

  33. jc says:
    up arrow

    Jim – -The best reform would be medical courts with doctors ajudicating these cases. Judges and attorneys do not have the knowledge to do it. That will not happen for several years. While you say frivolous suits are too expensive to prosecute, those are the suits my colleagues and I get hit with. It takes years to resolve these cases (sometimes a decade!) even when it is obvious to everyone involved that there is no liability. I know because I have personally seen and been involved in these cases. Since judges will not issue sanctions, even for eggregious cases (see above as an example)–let the doc countersue the plaintiff attorneys who bring these case. That would solve the issue of frivolous malpractice litigation immediately!

  34. Mark Bello says:
    up arrow

    Jim: The problem is POLITICS! Sensible reform cannot happen when politicians take campaign money from insurance companies and then start talking about “junk”, “frivolous”, and “damages caps” in the same sentence. This happens at the state level quite often, often proposed by stupid people like Rick Perry who rakes in millions in corporate campaign contributions to the detriment (and at the expense) of Texas taxpayers. At the national level, the most famous example is when George W. Bush stepped up to a podium and declared that to get rid of these “junk lawsuits” the country needed a national cap on damages of $250,000. Aside from the fact that such a cap would be unconstitutional, the President of the United States should not be blatantly lying to the American people like that. Although, this is the same president who said that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq as justification to send thousands to their deaths. There will never be fair and meaningful reform (not conceding it is necessary-just saying that current efforts are totally unjust and unecessary)as long as political money continues to flow from multi-billion dollar corporate/professional lobbies promoting reforms that make the rich richer and screw injured and disabled citizens.

  35. Jim O'Hare RPLU AIC AIS says:
    up arrow

    Dear Dr. JC- I have been elbow deep in Med mal from the field to VP level, and now on the plaintiff side- since 1985. I have a medical and legal backround.

    I have met attorneys on both sides that know as much medicine as anyone, enough to make a Harvard expert look stupid and cry on the stand.

    Requiring docs as the only ones capable to watch the henhouse is a little foxy.

    Re reforms- one side always wont like what is offered, with the other side not understanding why. Just as long as my side is a little more equal than your side.

    Re Politics that goes both ways as different states have different power groups. plaintiffs in some, defendants in others.

    My reform offerings benefit both sides.

    What is your position on mandatory insurance and limits to practice?? I need it to drive a car as I could injure sombody. Shouldnt you if you are threading a wire into sombodies brain?

    Jim OH

  36. jc says:
    up arrow

    Jim- -I personally think allowing docs to countersue plaintiff attorneys is a great idea. Mark Bello and other attorneys are always talking about holding people accountable, except them! If a frivolous suit is filed and the doc wins, let a jury decide whether it was frivolous or not and the damages. As for manditory medical malpractice insurance – -it is already manditory! You cannot thread a wire into someones brain without malpractice insurance because no hospital will grant you privileges unless you have a COI (certificate of insurance).

  37. Mark Bello says:
    up arrow

    Dr. Cox: As to “Mark Bello and other attorneys…talking about holding people accountable, except them!”, for crying out loud!!!!? When and where have I said that or anything close to that?! When and where have I ever said that I support a system that doesn’t hold attorneys accountable??!!! How many times do I have to answer this for you?! You were showing some promise, however, now I am now back to:

    SEE PREVIOUS COMMENTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  38. jc says:
    up arrow

    Mark – -When I am talking about holding plaintiff attorneys accountable, I am refering to my case which I have previously discussed. Here was a case of a typographical error which I was not responsible for on a report which had no affect on the patients outcome. Yet I was sued for 6 years by an attorney who lost his expert witness, sued other docs after the statute of limitations ran out, and after the corrective surgery was performed his client had a good outcome. The plaintiff’s attorney missed deadline after deadline, yet after all this Judge Jeff Reed would not allow sanctions against the plaintiff’s attorney. Eventually the case was thrown out on the court house steps. This type of litigation is abusive and the plaintiff’s attorney should be held accountable.

  39. Mark Bello says:
    up arrow

    See previous comments…..