As we've indicated before, "certificate of merit" malpractice reforms (a centerpiece of Messrs. Kerry and Edwards' plan) come in a number of varieties, ranging from the reasonably strong to the vanishingly weak. The editor of one magazine for doctors calls for the strong kind (Charles Lockwood, Contemporary Ob/Gyn, May 1):
Certify good faith. There are now 125,000 malpractice cases in the nation's court systems, 70% of which will be closed without payment. This is prima facie evidence of widespread abuse of "negligence" claims by plaintiffs' attorneys and their "experts." Plaintiffs' attorneys should be required to furnish the defense and court with a formal analysis of a case documenting area(s) of negligence. [emphasis added] The analysis should be drafted by a board-certified physician currently practicing in the defendant's field and in good standing with his or her professional body. Such a "good faith" certification would reduce the number of frivolous suits now clogging the system.