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Mark Bello
Mark Bello
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What Do Same Sex Marriage and Tort Reform Have In Common?

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Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), once a staunch opponent of gay marriage, announced earlier this month that he was supporting gay marriage. Portman admitted that he probably would not have become a supporter if it hadn’t been for his son “coming out”. After Will Portman sent a letter to his parents about his “secret”, Portman told CNN, “I've come to the conclusion that for me, personally, I think this is something that we should allow people to do, to get married, and to have the joy and stability of marriage that I've had for over 26 years." When asked what he would say to people who wondered why it took having a gay son to do so. Portman said, “Well, I would say that, you know, I’ve had a change of heart based on a personal experience.”

Trent Lott (R), former United States Senator from Mississippi, railed against lawsuits and for tort reform until his $400,000 house was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and his insurance claim was denied.

Judge Nelson Bailey, a retired Florida County Court Judge, didn’t decide that tort reform was a bad idea until after a negligent surgeon left a surgical sponge inside which then led to another operation to remove part of Bailey’s intestine which was severely damaged by the festering sponge.

Michigan’s Oakland County Executive, L. Brooks Patterson, another previously pro-reform Conservative Republican, changed his view of tort reform after an auto accident left him in a coma and multiple broken bones. Patterson still needs a wheelchair to get around while his driver was left paralyzed from the accident.

What about Portman’s views on reform liability, you ask? In November 2010, Portman said medical malpractice costs and the mounting costs of defensive medicine must be reduced through sensible legal reform and better information. That’s “code” for protecting bad doctors and punishing their victims through unconstitutional tort reform. I guess he’s never endured that “personal experience.” Fortunately, on Saturday the U.S. Senate rejected the Senator’s medical malpractice proposal to protect wrongdoers, reduce accountability, and leave patients at risk for more injuries from negligent care.

Each one of these politicians lobbied for limitations on citizen’s rights until they were personally touched by tragedy or other circumstances; they changed their stance purely on personal experience. It is quite sad that it takes a personal tragedy to turn an “anti-justice” view into a “pro-justice” view. These men now see the truth of what I have been arguing for years – the real truth behind restricting citizen’s constitutional rights. Tort reform is never a good idea for any plaintiff. Damages should always be decided between the parties, a judge and a jury, within the civil justice system, without legislative interference into a sacred branch of government.

Limiting the rights of our citizen’s to seek redress from the civil justice system is a bad idea. Restricting rights to marry the person one loves is an equally bad idea. We are all citizens of the same free country under the same Constitution. Our rights and freedoms are guaranteed in that document. That we have not been touched, personally, by someone else’s experience should not matter. We are all fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, brothers and sisters. Aren’t we? Aren’t we?

Mark Bello has thirty-six years experience as a trial lawyer and fourteen years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by a plaintiff involved in pending, personal injury, litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Member of Public Justice, Public Citizen, the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.