Personal injury related (mostly) stories I found of interest:
- The Washington Post’s Hank Stuever has a nice column looking at the new documentary on tort reform, “Hot Coffee.” He writes, “To support tort reform, you have to believe all lawsuits against businesses are a threat to the free market. You have to acquiesce to the so-called invisible hand…” (HT: Overlawyered, through Walter Olson, who runs the pro-tort reform blog, doesn’t like the Stuever column and comments favorably on the Miami Herald’s less-glowing review, calling the documentary “an unpaid advertisement for personal-injury attorneys and their eternal quest for jackpot justice.”). Plaintiffs’ lawyers are real excited about this movie. Personally, I think it just brings up a conversation we don’t need. No one who cares about this is going to change their mind now. The accident happened 17 years ago. Something must have happened in our nation’s courtrooms in this century that is more interesting. Besides, this case brings everyone’s crazy aunts and uncles out of the closet on both sides. Stella Liebeck could admit she poured the coffee on herself on purpose (she died so that may not happen) or McDonald’s could say they made coffee extra hot because they hate old ladies. No one’s opinion would change.
- Max Kennerly posts about why he believes a jury chose to find–to the tune of $21.4 million–for a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case who was “noncompliant” with doctors’ orders.
- Should a juror who sends a note during deliberations asking for the phone number of one of the lawyers, calling him a “cutie,” and mentioning her recent divorce stay on the case? Should the verdict stand? Via Legal Blog Watch. Roy Black married a juror from the William Kennedy Smith trial. And no one really talked about it.
- U.S. doctors may be performing surgery on the wrong body part 40 times a week (Eric Turkewitz). I realize we have 311 million people in this country. A lot of whacked out stuff is going to happen. But 40 times a week?
- West Virginia’s cap on noneconomic damages is constitutional, the state’s highest court says.
- George Will fawns over Rick Perry because he is eating a hamburger the size of a hubcap. That’s what I came away from this article with. No, George Will would not end a sentence with “with” and no this does not relate to personal injury. But I find George Will’s hero worship of baseball players and Republicans he thinks are macho more than a little disturbing. It is so school girl-like. (But, to his credit – the man knows how to write.)
- Lawyers are looking at da Vinci malpractice and product liability cases. When I say “lawyers” I really mean us. But it seemed a lot less pandering to pretend I’m breaking news.
- Hans Poppe ties together nursing home lawsuits and Charlie Sheen. Here’s the crazy part: he really does tie them in. The problem is that Charlie Sheen has a little more practical “free will” in deciding whether to agree to an arbitration clause than someone who shows up on the doorstep of a nursing home. Can you really leave a nursing home you think will take care of you or your parents over an arbitration clause? Should that practical “lack of choice” matter when the victim tries to invalidate the clause?
- Jackie Chiles for best fictional lawyer!