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Parasitic Tort Lawyers

Sandokan

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Parasitic Tort Lawyers
Townhall - John Stossel - Parasitic Tort Lawyers - Full Article

John Stossel

Tort lawyers lie. They say their product liability suits are good for us. But their lawsuits rarely make our lives better. They make lawyers and a few of their clients better off -- but for the majority of us, they make life much worse.

Years back, as one of America's first consumer reporters, I'd avenge harmed consumers by bringing cameras to the offending business and confronting the crooks. My work warned others about the dangers in the marketplace but didn't do much for the victims.
So I thought about those personal injury lawyers. They could do more good -- they could sue bad companies, force them to change and get the victims money. I started referring hurt consumers to lawyers.

Imagine my shock when consumers called to say their lawyers took most of the money!

Even when the lawyers do help their clients, they hurt everyone else because fear of their lawsuits takes away many good things: Swimming pools, playgrounds and gymnastics programs close because liability insurance is so expensive. Kids lose their favorite places to hang out in the summer.
The term “parasite” used by Stossel to describe trial lawyers is right on target. They live of the work and wealth created by others. There are good, ethical trial lawyers, but many of them create such huge amount of red tape and paperwork that the Medical profession is overwhelm by it.
 

ludahai

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The term “parasite” used by Stossel to describe trial lawyers is right on target. They live of the work and wealth created by others. There are good, ethical trial lawyers, but many of them create such huge amount of red tape and paperwork that the Medical profession is overwhelm by it.

Groups the libs hate get labled with "big" .. Big Oil, Big Pharma, etc. How about this? Big Legal!! You would never hear that because the libs LOVE these tort lawyers. They have the Dems in their back pockets... Talk about a special interest...
 

Sandokan

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Doctors priority shall be their patient health, without the need to constantly worry about lawsuits. Tort reform will have a positive effect on the health care system. Doctors malpractice premiums would be lower, and the number of office workers taking care of the red tape and paperwork would be reduce, helping to reduce the cost of healthcare.
 

Orion

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Groups the libs hate get labled with "big" .. Big Oil, Big Pharma, etc. How about this? Big Legal!! You would never hear that because the libs LOVE these tort lawyers. They have the Dems in their back pockets... Talk about a special interest...

I wouldn't have expected to hear such a partisan hack comment coming from someone like you ludahai. I know you are right wing but you always seemed a bit more rational than using the good old "libs" attack line.

Anyway... I think it's safe to say that everyone abuses the litigation system. A few big corporations come to mind... as they have the money to fund entire legal teams to financially starve out the opposition. Sheer money alone wins these cases now. Then of course, individuals sue over every little thing.

I'm not sure I can really blame individuals or the big companies. They are just using the system. I think it's the system itself that is broken.
 

Winston Smith

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Lawyers are just holding the medical profession and other industries accountable. No one likes accountability, but it's necessary.
 

RightinNYC

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I wouldn't have expected to hear such a partisan hack comment coming from someone like you ludahai. I know you are right wing but you always seemed a bit more rational than using the good old "libs" attack line.

What part of his statement is inaccurate?

Lawyers are by far the industry that donates the most to politicians - in most years they donate more than double that of the second place industry. Of the hundreds of millions that they've donated over the past decade, the vast, vast majority has gone to Democrats. So far this cycle, lawyers have donated more than "Big pharma," "big oil," and the "big banks" combined.
 

Orion

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What part of his statement is inaccurate?

Lawyers are by far the industry that donates the most to politicians - in most years they donate more than double that of the second place industry. Of the hundreds of millions that they've donated over the past decade, the vast, vast majority has gone to Democrats. So far this cycle, lawyers have donated more than "Big pharma," "big oil," and the "big banks" combined.

I did not know that.
 

Orion

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RightinNYC

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As a lawyer, can you speculate as to why they would be such huge contributors???

Lawyers in general tend to be very liberal, but plaintiff's attorneys in particular are overwhelmingly D-friendly due to their opposition to tort reform and support for class actions. The American Association for Justice is probably the focal point for that, and is one of the largest all-time donors: Top All-Time Donors, 1989-2010 | OpenSecrets

Also, many large law firms base substantial parts of their practice on things that happen in DC. At the firm I worked at, politicians would frequently stop by to discuss a topic that was of interest to a particular practice group and would use the opportunity to network with/raise money from sympathetic lawyers.

edit: If you're a member of a 20-person group that does solely patent litigation, your livelihood is directly affected by minute provisions in IP law that most people don't understand or care about. Whereas a politician would be risking a lot of political capital if he were to propose a brand new bill that would shape a major issue, it's a lot easier for him to propose an amendment that will change subsection (C)(2)(a)(1-3) of an existing law in a way that will make your clients happy. A $2,000 donation isn't going to get a politician's ear on the issue of whether or not to close gitmo, but it might get his ear on that tiny issue.
 
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Sandokan

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The 800,000 physicians in active practice in the U.S. pay, on average, premiums of $27,500 per year for malpractice coverage. This amounts to $19.25 billion per year. Nationally, malpractice insurance companies pay out 63 cents of every premium dollar received.[1]

The cost of the malpractice system account for less than 5 percent of total national health expenditures, but the cost of “defensive medicine”, a direct result of malpractice system, account for a much larger percent of total national health expenditures.

[1] “Accounting for the Cost of Health Care in the United States”
McKinsey & Company - Synthesis - Accounting for the cost of health care in the United States - January 2007
 

Barbbtx

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The Dems absolutely refused to put any kind of tort reform into the HC bill. Kept saying it wouldn't save enough money to make a difference.
I think doctors would see things differently.
 

Sandokan

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The Dems absolutely refused to put any kind of tort reform into the HC bill. Kept saying it wouldn't save enough money to make a difference.
I think doctors would see things differently.
More than one-third of 1,600 physicians admitted that they would order an MRI that not was warranted if a patient with low back pain requested it [2]. More than 62 million CAT scans are performed annually in the U.S. About one-third are estimated to be medically unnecessary. [3]

The cost of medically unnecessary, but legally warranted, defensive medicine takes up to 20% to 25% of the total national health care spending.[4] Based on the 25% figure $550 billion is squandered annually in defensive medicine decisions.

Much of the physician’s and nurse’s time is spent entering voluminous notes into the chart, which have little practical relevance to the patient’s care. Because of defensive medicine, we are choking our productivity

Unless trial lawyers are removed from the equation, there will not be a significant reduction in health-care costs.

[2] Professionalism in Medicine: Results of a National Survey of Physicians.” Annals of Internal Medicine. Professionalism in Medicine: Results of a National Survey of Physicians.

[3] “Computerized Tomography – An Increasing Source of Radiation Exposure.” New England Journal of Medicine. 2007

[4] “The Elusive Prescription for Health Care We Can Afford.” Wall Street Journal. Feb 4, 2008
 

Sandokan

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The more serious the disease or injury, the higher is the potential for a lawsuit over something going wrong. Brain surgeons pay 200,000 dollars a year in malpractice insurance premiums. They have to raise their rates to cover the premiums that are used by the insurance companies to paid malpractice cases, whom in turn raise their rates to cover the expense. The policy holders eventually pay for it in higher premiums that end up in the pocket of trial lawyers.
 

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yup. now here comes the question; how to reform the system while still allowing for those who deserve compensation to recieve it? Caps i have problems with; it strikes me as fundamentally no different from an artificial "at some point you've earned enough money" rate. if medial malpractice genuinely requires a person to recieve expensive treatment or aid for the rest of their life while making it implausible (if not impossible) for them to have a job, then frankly 500,000 just isn't going to cut it.

which is why i like a "loser pays" reform. if you bring a ridiculous suit against a major company; now they can actually defend themselves in court, knowing that if you lose, you pay for their lawyers.

that fixes the incentive structure for plaintiffs; but how do we alter the incentive structure for Tort lawyers?
 

Scarecrow Akhbar

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The term “parasite” used by Stossel to describe trial lawyers is right on target. They live of the work and wealth created by others. There are good, ethical trial lawyers, but many of them create such huge amount of red tape and paperwork that the Medical profession is overwhelm by it.


Tort lawyers should, by law, restricted to collecting no more than 10% of the total award for any case taken, and in their proud role as an unofficial branch of the government, they should be required to provide pro-bono services for anyone making less than the median income of the state they're practicing in.
 

Coronado

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Tort lawyers should, by law, restricted to collecting no more than 10% of the total award for any case taken, and in their proud role as an unofficial branch of the government, they should be required to provide pro-bono services for anyone making less than the median income of the state they're practicing in.
Yeah, what's a little more socialism gonna hurt, anyway?
 

justabubba

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The term “parasite” used by Stossel to describe trial lawyers is right on target. They live of the work and wealth created by others. There are good, ethical trial lawyers, but many of them create such huge amount of red tape and paperwork that the Medical profession is overwhelm by it.

it seems you are ignoring the victims who have been unreasonably harmed
you toss them out with the bathwater of tort elimination. you deny them their opportunity for just compensation

my buddy was one of the attorneys on the legal team which prevailed in a massive (and profitable) suit against the tobacco companies
the decline in smoking we have seen since may well be partially attributable to his efforts. a net plus for our nation as a result of this tort lawyer

and as i recall, Obama invited the republicans to introduce tort reform as individual legislation
he did not want it added to an already impeded bill, but welcomed separate tort reform legislation which would serve to impact the health services industry
where is the republican tort reform proposal?
 

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Consider it punishment for committing a crime against humanity, ie, choosing to be a lawyer instead of finding a productive occupation.
Yeah, like I said, socialism.
 

RightinNYC

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Consider it punishment for committing a crime against humanity, ie, choosing to be a lawyer instead of finding a productive occupation.

Everyone whines about lawyers until they need one.
 

Scarecrow Akhbar

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Everyone whines about lawyers until they need one.

No, then they realize that their complaints didn't go far enough.

Let's see....my mother was dismissed from her job a shift supervisor at a nursing home solely because the home hired a new and younger male they wanted to give a promotion to. Unknown to us, my mother's attorney was friends with the home's attorney was friends with the judge, and her suit for both age and sex discrimination was dismissed out of hand.

When my grandfather's estate was being settled, that attorney insisted on spending thousands of dollars and years trying to locate my mother's brother, who had disappeared more than three decades before and who, to the best of our knowledge, had donned cement overshoes to g swimming in the East River. It took another attorney to pry the estate from that lawyer's hands so not only my mother but my grandfather's second wife, herself terminally ill with bone cancer, could clear up the estate issues.

Lawyers are the worst people because they know the people hiring them can be squeezed hard, because only people in trouble are seeking them.
 
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RightinNYC

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No, then they realize that their complaints didn't go far enough.

Let's see....my mother was dismissed from her job a shift supervisor at a nursing home solely because the home hired a new and younger male they wanted to give a promotion to. Unknown to us, my mother's attorney was friends with the home's attorney was friends with the judge, and her suit for both age and sex discrimination was dismissed out of hand.

Seems more likely that she just had a weak case, like most sex/age discrimination claims are. What you've described is the reaction of pretty much every client when they find out that their case isn't a winner - "Oh, my lawyer just screwed it up/is corrupt!"

When my grandfather's estate was being settled, that attorney insisted on spending thousands of dollars and years trying to locate my mother's brother, who had disappeared more than three decades before and who, to the best of our knowledge, had donned cement overshoes to g swimming in the East River. It took another attorney to pry the estate from that lawyer's hands so not only my mother but my grandfather's second wife, herself terminally ill with bone cancer, could clear up the estate issues.

Lawyers are the worst people because they know the people hiring them can be squeezed hard, because only people in trouble are seeking them.

There are good and bad lawyers, just like in every field. All I know is that you can bitch and bitch about them all you want now, but if tomorrow you got hit by a car or arrested for a DWI, you'd be running to a lawyer as fast as you could.
 

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Malpractice suits results in massive and random settlements that raise everyone's insurance premiums. A third of the proceeds go to the pockets of trial lawyers. Cap on damages will help the Medical profession to manger the risk. Doctors practice defensive medicine, ordering tests, procedures and referrals as protection from lawsuits. Tort reform would reduce health care costs.
 

cpwill

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it seems you are ignoring the victims who have been unreasonably harmed you toss them out with the bathwater of tort elimination. you deny them their opportunity for just compensation

that's a possibility; but only if we do it badly.

the fact is that currently tort lawyers stand to make huge sums of money by bringing any and every suit against our medical system and it's workers, and pay no penalty for doing so spuriously. that creates a powerful incentive structure that encourages constant suits in cases where there is unlikely to actually be malpractice involved - and (as has been demonstrated earlier on this thread) this hurts the rest of us, and our medical providers the most. virtually every OB/GYN get's sued - i knew one who quit after his insurance bumped up to 200K a year - do you really think that every OB/GYN is incompetent or evil? no, of course not. but people get emotionally distraught when something is wrong with their newborn child, tort lawyers take advantage of that to pad their pockets, and the incentive structure is currently designed to provide only reward with no risk for them doing so.

the incentive structure needs to be altered to offer a risk, as well as a reward.

my buddy was one of the attorneys on the legal team which prevailed in a massive (and profitable) suit against the tobacco companies

then your buddy is part of the problem; the suit(s) against the tobacco companies were ridiculous exercises in refusal to accept personal responsibility on the part of plaintiffs. anyone claiming to have not known that ciggarettes are bad for you is either lying, or stupid enough to justify the tobacco industry removing them from the gene pool (hyperbole).

where is the republican tort reform proposal?

the ones' i've seen (in Texas, for example) seem to center around punative caps; which i have issues with over the points i've listed above and you've mentioned as well - there are legitimate cases wherein the reward under the cap simply isn't sufficient. i've yet to see anyone put together a decent 'loser-pays' plan (which i would like to see) that includes some kind of risk for the lawyer.
 
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