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Brooks Schuelke
Brooks Schuelke
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The Downside to Personal Injury Tort Reform

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Occasionally, those that have supported tort reform realize the mistakes they made. An article that appeared in last Friday’s issue of Medical Economics tells of one of those stories. The article was written my Arnold Wax, a medical oncologist in Nevada, who was one of the original forces behind tort reform. However, Dr. Wax was later referred a patient where it was discovered that the original pathologist missed a cancer diagnoses. Dr. Wax agreed to serve as an expert witness in the case and had this observation after the trial:

It appeared that the case would be resolved quickly, considering that the defendant freely admitted his error. However, this turned out to be far from true.

As I’d expected, the jury found the original pathologist negligent. But, to my surprise, Mary wasn’t awarded any damages… The jurors reasoned that the pathologist had not acted maliciously, and that if he were found liable for a monetary award, he might leave the state. They were likely influenced by political ads that ran during the state’s tort reform ballot campaign, describing physicians who were leaving Nevada because of its malpractice crisis.

The result in the case is appalling, and I urge anyone interested in civil justice issues to read the full article.

Thanks to New York personal injury lawyer Eric Turkewitz for the the tip.