Tuesday, May 30, 2006

It's Getting Better

South Texas' reputation as a "judicial hellhole" may be coming to a close, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times reports.

Citing a nationwide report by the Pacific Research Institute, the article says Texas now ranks No. 1 in the country in lowest tort costs. This comes after voters OK'd Proposition 12, which caps noneconomic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits at $750,000 per claimant.

The Association of Trial Lawyers of America, however, takes issue with the institute's work. ATLA president Ken Suggs slams the study as "just another phony report bought and paid for by CEOs and big corporations* intent on lining their pockets with no regard for its real world impact on people." PRI fires back, calling the ATLA statement "an over-the-top, purple prose press release."

CONFESSION TIME: As opinion editor at The Monitor, I wrote editorials in favor of limiting the amount of noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases. As a law student, I now see the other side of the argument: What about the victim who's been injured in such cases? As my torts professor points out when talking about the concept of suing for damages in the first place, why should the innocent party have to bear the loss because someone else did something wrong?

(*Freedom Communications, The Monitor's parent company, is one of many corporations that contributes to the think tank. No, the company didn't have anything to with me writing those editorials; I came up with them on my own and the editor and publisher approved them. If you're curious about who else funds PRI, read about it in this SourceWatch entry.)

1 Comments:

Blogger JB said...

Capping noneconomic damages never made any sense even from a common sense point of view. If a company knows the maximum cost of their damage, they may more easily input that amount as the cost of doing business, meaning there's an implicit price increase that quantifies the potential loss to business -- should the company lose a major suit. A noncap leaves the costs open ended, meaning companies are forced to be more careful prior to offering the service or product, since they cannot quantify the loss and thus build it into the cost of doing business.

7:58 AM  

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