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Mark Bello
Mark Bello
Attorney • (877) 377-7848

Not a Laughing Matter!

5 comments

If you peruse the Internet, you will read a lot of nonsense about so-called “frivolous lawsuits” and/or “lawsuit abuse”. The latest I found was an online app, created by Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York (LRANY), a tort reform group that joined forces with a coalition of various groups including the Business Council of New York State, Associated Builders and Owners of Greater New York, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, New York State Farm Bureau, New York Conference of Mayors, and Rochester Business Alliance, to name a few in an effort to reform New York’s century old Scaffold Law.  LRANY developed this app allowing anyone the opportunity to create their very own “frivolous lawsuit” in an attempt to brainwash the public into thinking that “frivolous” lawsuits and “lawsuit abuse” is a major problem that costs taxpayers money and jobs.

However, what groups like LRANY are really after is a way to limit your recovery in serious lawsuits. They don’t care one bit about, so-called, ”frivolous” lawsuits; these are not a serious problem for them.  But if LRANY and other Chamber based “lawsuit abuse” groups can make you think that the civil justice system is a ‘joke’, maybe you won’t realize that their next victim may be you or someone you love.

Are there lawsuits filed that should not have been?  Sure there are; some even seem “funny”.  But these are rare exceptions; the vast majority of lawsuits are not a laughing matter.    But our court system is clogged, isn’t it?  Yes, in some jurisdictions, there is a serious backlog of cases.  It must be that too many lawsuits are being filed, right?  Wrong!  The reason that there are serious backlogs in the legal system is because deep-pocket defendants and insurance companies will not step up and do the right thing unless they are absolutely forced to do so.  Their best defense is a long, drawn out fight that causes trial lawyers to spend thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars representing their clients.  Their best defense is to cause serious financial distress by delaying the outcome, denying the truth, refusing to pay what they reasonably should pay, and confusing the issues on the way to trial.

You see, the real truth is that there are far more frivolous defenses forged by insurance companies and deep-pocket defendants than there will ever be frivolous lawsuits.  Our civil justice system has checks and balances for frivolous lawsuit filings; if a case is deemed “frivolous”, it is quickly dismissed by a judge and costs are usually assessed against the filing party. This is not true for frivolous defenses. The defense clogs court dockets with unfair tactics, anything that will prolong the litigation, create more billable hours, and make a seriously injured, disabled, plaintiff more desperate to settle for less compensation. Even in a case where serious misconduct by a corporate defendant causes serious injuries to a senior citizen, and many others, corporate America and these anti-citizen Chamber groups chide and joke.  Even in situations where the corporate defendant knows the harm it caused and still refuses to make a simple correction that would cost nothing, the corporation blames the victim.  Even when a corporate defendant is obviously at fault, where defendant’s conduct is outrageous, tort reform groups, like LRANY, engage in a sinister effort to convince the public that clients are milking the system, lawyers are pursuing meritless claims and legislative action is necessary to cap these suits.  Cap?  Cap!  The solution proffered is always a cap on damages.  Use your common sense; why would we need a cap on damages for a frivolous, worthless lawsuit?

Groups like LRANY will never show you the grieving family of a deceased victim of negligence.  They will never show you a deformed, mentally challenged infant, who must receive around-the- clock care for life.  They will not show you the many people who have suffered amputations, paraplegia, crippling injuries and death.  They will not show the many examples of innocent victims abused by frivolous defenses, with the courthouse doors slammed in their faces because of tort reform.  They will not feature, in their “funny” lawsuit abuse marketing campaigns, those people who have become dependent upon the government for assistance because those who were responsible for their condition refused to accept full responsibility for their care and support, leaving the burden on us, the taxpayers.

These corporate types have embarked on a vicious campaign to “expose” a non-existent problem that they like to call “lawsuit abuse”.  If these groups truly wish to unclog clogged civil justice dockets, they could create safer products, do more research, voluntarily assist those that they have harmed, apologize for wrongdoing and misconduct, and work with health and safety groups to find new and better solutions.  They could demand that their insurance companies accept the responsibility to pay benefits that premiums were paid for, sooner, not later.  They could tell them that the civil justice system is not a joke; it is not their playground; it is not “funny” to harm innocent people, then delay taking responsibility and refuse to assist them.

If there is a “joke” here, it is a cruel one, played on the American people.  Groups like LRANY proclaim “funny sounding’ lawsuits, like the ones you can create with this online app, and make suggestions that our legal system is broken and that trial lawyers are to blame. Trial lawyers don’t make dangerous and defective products and then try to cover up the defects to limit their exposure. They don’t provide alcohol to intoxicated people, then put them behind the wheel of a car.  They don’t try to cover up a botched medical procedure; they don’t make conscious decisions to save a few bucks by not implementing simple, small cost, safety upgrades.  Trial lawyers have the daunting task of holding these negligent wrongdoers accountable by using the tools of our civil justice system; the system that is consistently the victim of “lawsuit abuse” perpetrated by deep-pocket, corporate, defendants who pile frivolous defense on top of frivolous defense in the hope that the plaintiff will run out of time and money.  My industry, the lawsuit funding industry, was born to attempt to assist these needy litigants.  Today, the lawsuit funding industry is under attack by the same, phony, “lawsuit abuse” that have attacked trial lawyers for years.  These corporations have billions to spend on propaganda, misinformation and half truths; they have nothing to spend on safety, restitution and fair compensation.

So, ask yourself why tort reform lobbying groups seek to combat “frivolous lawsuits” with damages caps.  It is serious injuries, serious consequences, serious lawsuits that impact the profits of billion dollar corporations. The use of buzz words like “frivolous” and “abuse” are smoke screens. Tort reform benefits wrongdoers; victims and taxpayers (that’s you) pick up the balance.  The joke, my friends, is on you.  Who’s laughing now?

Mark Bello has thirty-six years’ experience as a trial lawyer and fifteen 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.

5 Comments

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  1. Vern Dennis says:
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    [Our civil justice system has checks and balances for frivolous lawsuit filings; if a case is deemed “frivolous”, it is quickly dismissed by a judge and costs are usually assessed against the filing party.]

    This is almost never true unless you are in Federal Court. Most state court judges will allow everything to go to the jury and bend over backwards to avoid awarding costs against a plaintiff, unless a statute is written in such a way that they have no discretion in the matter

  2. jc says:
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    Vern, Mark Bello is the same guy who said that “90% of medical malpractice suits are settled in favor of the plaintiff”. He said this with no documentation at all, just Mark trying to drum up some business. He totally ignored the fact that medical malpractice is the most difficult litigation to pursue and that 85% of cases that go to trial are won by the defendant doc. Lately, he told me that Lawsuit Financial, does not discriminate and finances plaintiffs in lawsuits against “bad” lawyers. So I personally called Lawsuit Financial to ask them about this. They told me that they do not take those cases! His whole essay is useless plaintiff attorney propaganda. I am a practicing doc who has been occasionally dragged thru the litigation process. My major problem is that I cannot get the courts or the plaintiff attorneys to move in an expedicious mannor! Usually after the case is filed, my attorney and I want to get it over with, but the plaintiff attorney can’t identify an expert witness and the courts cannot give us a trial date! In my experience all the delay comes from the plaintiff side of the equation with judges playing a strong supporting and delaying role. Even if the plaintiff attorney loses a unanimous jury verdict, they want to appeal and drag it out so that maybe the doc will throw up his hands and settle the case.

  3. Jake says:
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    Cox: Why don’t you explain to everyone why, if “frivolous cases” and “bad lawyers” are the problem in medical malpractice cases, every tort reform measure calls for “caps” on plaintiffs’ recoveries? And, if, as you say, 85% of the verdicts are in favor of the doctors, why is there a need for this kind of good case tort reform at all? And how, pray tell, does any of this benefit Bello? As I understand it, he funds cases; if cases fail, he loses his money. Thus, since, according to you, 85% of malpractice cases fail, he loses his money 85% of the time. Right? After 15 years of all of these losses, he should be out of business. Unless, of course, like he says, a large portion of these cases settle without a trial. Sure seems like his arguments make more sense than yours. Also seems to me that the average reader will see you for what you probably are: A bitter, beaten, defendant in too many successful malpractice cases. This “blame the victim and the lawyers” mentality will not make medical care one bit safer. Shouldn’t improved safety and improved care be the goal?

  4. jc says:
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    Jake: I have seen the medical legal malpractice system up close and it is revolting! You do not see the other legal reforms that are being made because they do not hurt plaintiff attorney incomes as much. Reforms like requiring an affidavit of merit before a claim can be filed. Reforms like putting limits on “loss of a chance” litigation or getting rid of that garbage litigation, like South Dakota did. Caps on pain and suffering damages are legitimate because you cannot quantify in a dollar amount those damages, Winning plaintiffs get true economic damages for their injuries. As to Mark Bello, he takes about 10% of the winning award in his cases that he selects. As a lawyer with experience, he knows that only 1 in 20 cases that go to trial will result in a substantial verdict for the plaintiff so he cherry picks those cases. If pain and suffering damages are capped than his 10% winning award is capped. As for my practice, well I have been around for 3 decades and I practice in a high litigation field, yet I am rarely sued. Part of the reason is that I get lots of CMEs (over 80 last year), I have a good rapor with patients and I vigorously defend myself if I ever am sued. Plaintiff attorneys hate it when they have to work for their money and go to trial.

  5. Mark Bello says:
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    There you go again, John. You don’t know my business; you don’t know my business model, but you make bold, untrue, statements about how I conduct my business. In a blog I posted around the same time as this one, I announced my company’s 15th anniversary. The post was not about tort reform. It said nothing about doctors or malpractice; it said nothing about you (none of my posts do). I was simply marketing my experience to the public. What did you do with this simple little “announcement” piece? You chose to use that post to attack me, my business practices (which you know nothing about) and my industry, without knowing the facts and without any provocation whatsoever. As to the medical-legal system, no system is perfect; certainly there are some “common sense” reforms that help balance the scales. However, “capping” damages to stop “frivolous” lawsuits is absurd on its face. I presume that by “CME”, you mean “consultant medical examinations”, right? Tell the folks what these really are, won’t you? A “consultant” gets paid, handsomely, by the insurance company to render an opinion in in favor of doctors and hospitals in malpractice cases and other types of liability cases. Right? Essentially, the “consultant” gets paid to find that no malpractice was committed or that there are little or no damages to a plaintiff, right? How much does the typical doctor charge for these exams? How many times out of 100 does that “defense doctor” find that there was malpractice or serious injury in a liability case? How many times has a doctor who authored an affidavit of merit for the case (an example of “good” reform) disagreed with the defense doctor? And if, heaven forbid, the defense doctor found that there was malpractice or serious physical consequences to an accident, what is the typical reaction of the insurance company? In Michigan, many courts now prevent the defense from referring to these examinations are “consultant” or “independent” as the insurance industry desires. They are required to be referred to as “DME’s” or “Defense Medical Examinations”, which is the reality of what they are. These examining physicians are advocates; they are retained to advocate a position of no liability and/or no damages. You keep making this about attorneys while ignoring the victims. Do you think that victims should get unrestricted damages when malpractice is committed? If doctor are not held fully accountable, how do we improve safety? You want to eliminate juries and put doctors in charge of dispensing justice; your “medical courts” are nothing more than the fox guarding the hen house. You attack lawyers; you attack me, but you never tell us who and what you are. Please provide your full CV at this site so that the public can check you out.