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February 21, 2005


Yale Daily News on litigation reform

The student newspaper checks around with faculty and others at the university and gets a few reactions worth recording:

Charles Lockwood, chair of the [Yale School of Medicine] Ob/Gyn department, said rising insurance premiums, resulting from the field's high legal risk, have already forced large cutbacks in Yale's maternal fetal medicine staff. ... "Within two years we will be faced with a very real possibility of having to shut down our high-risk obstetrical practice -- a practice which cares for the sickest mothers in the state," Lockwood said. ...

...Yale School of Medicine Dean Robert Alpern said tort reform is needed to protect medical schools and doctors of all types. "There is no question that medical malpractice occurs, and the medical profession supports patients' rights to address this problem when they've experienced malpractice," Alpern said. "But the current legal system is very poor. Lawsuits are often filed in situations where no malpractice has occurred, but a patient has a bad and unpreventable medical outcome. Even when a doctor has done everything right, a court will find a guilty plaintiff, and the sizes of awards can be outrageous." ...

... Law School professor George Priest said quick fixes, such as capping damages, are second-rate solutions to wider problems in tort law. "I have never liked caps on damages, but on the other hand it is very difficult to control the substantive grounds on which people recover," he said.

Law professor Theodore Marmor said caps are not the best means of fixing the tort system's troubles because they do not address the heart of the issue -- the exorbitant scale of damages. "The mass tort area is beset by problems, and caps address some of the problems, but are neither a panacea nor are they to be thought of as the most important single action to engage in," he said.


Quite a bit more too.

Posted by Walter Olson at 12:45 AM | TrackBack (0)



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Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.