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A separate thought on Farber-White and medical malpractice

Svorny says "Farber and White's evaluation of the tort system suggests it is well-situated to make judgment calls."

Svorny looks at the Farber-White study and sees a medical malpractice system that's working. I look at that exact same study, and see a world where medical malpractice law are so vague and indeterminate that in over 30% of the cases, internal experts hired by the defendant can't consistently determine whether legally-actionable malpractice has occurred; a regression model with the advantage of hindsight predicts only 40% of variation of settlement amounts even with the artificial kluge of regressing on a logarithm to depress variance; and the majority of malpractice cases brought are not good cases. That's aside from the fact that Farber-White had such a small sample that it didn't even include a single jury verdict for plaintiffs, much less one of the uncapped multi-million-dollar variety that can be so distorting. That level of randomness and indeterminacy demonstrated by Farber-White is not at all inconsistent with anything I've said, since, once again, I'm not claiming that the malpractice system is as random as a coin toss, just that it is sufficiently haphazard that the system does more harm than good at the margin.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.