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  • Tort Reform Betrayed in New York

    Justice for John Yoo and Jay Bybee

    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s surprising push for tort reform came to an end Sunday night. The latest New York budget plan eliminates the proposed $250,000 “cap on non-economic damages for medical malpractice awards” that would have saved the state an estimated $384 million. Cuomo, a Democrat, abandoned the plan even after he accepted the Medicaid Redesign Team’s proposal.

    The setback leaves New York’s blundering Medicaid program unreformed and according to Mississippi Governor Hailey Barbour, no meaningful changes can be made to until someone in the Governor’s Mansion follows through on tort reform.

    “The first rule [of tort reform],” Barbour told The Heritage Foundation last March, “is that you cannot pass real tort reform unless it is led by a governor.”

    The need for tort reform is obvious: New Yorkers have felt the burden of soaring premiums and the loss of doctors from the state. Bill Hammond of the New York Daily News wrote presents a specific case: “It’s not unusual for New York ob-gyns to shell out more in premiums than they take home in pay – which is why dozens either quit delivering babies or flee the state whenever there’s another rate increase.”

    Not enough, though, has been made of how tort reform, or stopping “lawsuit abuse” as Barbour prefers to call it, will keep jobs in New York and attract new business. Barbour related how in 2007, Toyota chose to build a Prius assembly plant in Mississippi and “said publicly they would not have chosen Mississippi if we had not passed tort reform.” Barbour’s experience is not an outlier– economist Lawrence McQuillan reported that there is “57 percent greater job growth in the tort reform states.”

    While Cuomo’s 2% budget cuts are an admirable step towards fiscal sanity, he must remember that New York ranks 49th in tort reform liability. One of Cuomo’s first acts in office was to appoint a Medicaid Redesign Team and it would be a disservice to his constituents if he never returns to the issue of law suit abuse.

    Matthew McKillip is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation.

    Posted in Legal [slideshow_deploy]

    15 Responses to Tort Reform Betrayed in New York

    1. Patrick O'Lone- says:

      I've never been able to understand why lawyers get thirty to fifty percent of the settlement when they suffer zero percent of the damages!

      In most cases they can't be putting that much time or expense into preliminary

      preparement. Example;$300,000settlement @ $150.00 per hr.=2000hrs.

    2. Pingback: Tort Reform Betrayed in New York | Big Propaganda

    3. Andrew Barovick says:

      I must disagree with your view, and remind you that today is the 40th anniversary of the introduction of the Ford Pinto, a car that Ford executives placed into the stream of American commerce knowing of its propensity to explode in flames and injure or kill drivers. This post from Car Talk will refresh your memory, if it needs refreshing.
      http://cartalk.com/blogs/jamie-kitman/?p=41
      Ford did so, knowing it would cost them in terms of lawsuits and lives. But it figured that ultimately, that cost was less expensive than fixing the design that made the car so dangerous. Tort reform would limit the damages that the criminal minds marketing such dangerous products should be forced to pay for their more-than-gross negligence, including punitive damages that are often well deserved. It is beyond me why such companies should not be held accountable for their subhuman, purely profit-driven actions. Perhahps you could provide some insight?

    4. Jim, NY says:

      Cuomo's posturing on the issue of tort reform was entirely for show. There was never any intention on the part of the Governor, or the Senate and Assembly leaders, of providing relief to the taxpayers of NY at the expense of their ambulance chasing, extortionist friends in the legal profession.

      So long as lawyers are allowed to hold public office there will never be any real tort reform. Using civil courts to rip off the taxpayer is what makes those leeches rich. One of the stipulations upon passing the Bar should be that you are barred from holding public office.

    5. Tommy, Tucson says:

      Legal Blackmail! Most small businesses (including doctors) have suffered through the "threat of litigation". An attorney contacts a business or businesses (the more the better) and makes an allegation of damage concerning their client. If the business, or businesses just pay 10 to 15 thousand dollars each the suit will go away. Now this happens just because it will cost the business much more to hire an attorney to fight the "imaginary claim", even if the business is 100% innocent. It happens hundreds of times every day. The attorney keeps half the money and their "client" gets half. Take a look at the ACLU and their history. Hundreds of towns and organizations don't fight for a “Constitutional right" because they don't have the money. Tort reform now, get rid of these unethical lawyers who practice legal extortion. We all pay the bill!

    6. Don Harper, Lubbock, says:

      No matter how evil the evil-doers are, most of the compensation should go to the victims, not their lawyers. Pay the lawyers on billable hours, not a percentage of the loot.

    7. Tom. Texas says:

      Publicity of the flaws in the Ford Pinto could have induced Ford to make the design changes just as effectively as a hefty law suit. The answer to the doctors' dilemma could be solved by them adding an insurance surcharge to their bill so the patients could see just how much the lack of tort reform is costing them. This surcharge is much like the deluge of fees the government adds to things like our telephone bill. The government would have to take the doctors to court to prove that the surcharge is part of the medical bill, allowing the doctors to comply with the imposed limits and still recover their insurance costs.

    8. George Colgrove VA says:

      Jim, NY

      Though I agree with you, we should not put any bars on a person holding office. I think we voters should just stop voting for them. But be aware voting for only engineers would result in tons of highway projects and building construction. The best policy is to keep a broad mix of people in congress.

    9. Allen says:

      This Gov. acts,talks,struts,just like Micheal in the "God Father". Except one thing, He has not been made, Yet. Have nice one, In that Union Busted State.

    10. Jim, NY says:

      George Colgrove VA – my anger and rage were more evident than I would have liked and for that I apologize. Corralling the activities of the most egregious offenders, John Edwards comes to mind, is still a goal worth pursuing. Your allusion to engineers and what would happen if they enjoyed unfettered control of the public purse puts me in mind of Robert Moses and the nightmare he built for NY City.

      So George, you’re right, of course. Still, the thought of having no lawyers in government seems altogether idyllic.

    11. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      Tort Reform is fixing American Medicine when the Obama Gang want to take down American Medicine. Of course New York can't fix it! American Medicine needs to go down! The Democrats have no plan whatsoever to fix American Medicine. No dears! It is destroying American Medicine, making Medicine unaffordable and unavailable! It is just like School Vouchers! That would harm Progressive Indoctrination to let Students out of Public Schools! They would miss out on their Socialization!

      It is in the Progressive Interest (Foreign Interest) that nothing actually get fixed until after the American Economy falls and the Government falls! See, then the Progressives will fix it with Obamunism. It would be awfully 'hateful' for me to point out that Neo Communists are into Soft Murder? Yeah like Sarah Palin's 100 False Prosecutions and 1000 Biased News Reports! Soft Murder means taking everything a person will ever have, and it is being done to Americans by our Government! Soft Mass Murder is Communism. I hate it!

      I think the point is preventing real Tort Reform by faking it and then saying "The People don't want it!" We faked the solution so that you don't have to solve it!

    12. Spiritof76, NH says:

      Can we simply declare New York is a toxic waste, unfit for free people to live in?

    13. Harry Snyder Tempera says:

      "Follow the money." If you do that,the truth will show up sooner or later.

      The billions of dollars raked in by the medical malpractice and other lawyers is proof enough. All that is needed is the details.

      Interesting example: In Wisconsin, I believe, a lawyer is facing opposition to her appointment to a judgeship, because she is getting $20+ million per year from the tobacco lawsuit settlements.

      "Justice" can be real profitable, can't it???

    14. Pingback: PointofLaw.com | PointOfLaw Forum: Around the web, April 4

    15. lisa lewis says:

      Many of you have NO CLUE. I'm a former nurse and have watched as docs butcher patients,change medical records and cover for eachother. Now I've been severly injured unable to wrk, raise my only child and n sever pain 24hrs a day. I'm unable to leave my home on my own and have missed 7yrs of my life. My doc was told by myself and 4 other docs to correct the damage asap and he refused. Only for me to find out he wasn't around because he left w/his family for a trip out of the country. I had t/b rushed to another hospital to have the problem stopped. I suffer and have thought of ending it all several x's. Tort isn't the problem and it isn't the key to decrease medical cost. STOP the butcher's from hurting pt's and covering it up. If folks don't wake up soon…..you will pick up the tab for the patient whose life and been torn apart by a doc.

    16. lisa lewis says:

      others. But the state won't stop him and others. It's NOT THE PATIENTS fault they were injured…..THEY MUCH PAY or the TAXPAYER (You) will. And for the record in NYS medical malpractice attorneys don't get 1/3….the law was changed to a sliding scale so the injured person gets more of the reward. And also in NYS an attorney can no longer just file a suit they much first have a doc review the records carefully to determine if the doc met the standard of care or not and if malpractice occured. A certificate then must be signed by that doc in order to even fill in NYS. THEY are telling you all LIES to protect the insurance companies and doc's so they can cont to get rich. I know live under the poverty level, my life expectancy has been shortend and my care is costly. I've lost everything everything I worked so hard for. THEY MUCH PAY and they need to take those who keep hurting pts out of business.

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