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(Apple Daily Report)   Don't ever let some ambulance chaser tell you we don't need tort reform   (appledailyreport.com) divider line 54
    More: Asinine, tort reform, ambulance chasers, Top Ten Most Ridiculous Lawsuits, IRL, pornographic film, legal reform, fear of children  
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4087 clicks; posted to Main » on 24 Dec 2013 at 10:04 AM (40 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-12-24 10:11:38 AM
Did the judge throw out the case?
 
2013-12-24 10:17:55 AM
I thought for Apple users just looking at their Mac or iPad case was porn? Isn't that why they always mock other machines for being "cheap plastic"?
 
2013-12-24 10:18:03 AM
There is a simple solution, people.

Loser pays winners legal fees in all outcomes.

"But, but, but that cuts poor people out of the civil court system!"  No. The losing lawyer pays.
 
2013-12-24 10:21:06 AM

Banned on the Run: There is a simple solution, people.

Loser pays winners legal fees in all outcomes.

"But, but, but that cuts poor people out of the civil court system!"  No. The losing lawyer pays.


This is a terrible solution that only benefits big companies
 
2013-12-24 10:21:07 AM
I got picked for Jury duty on a medical malpractice case, when they were questioning the jury before the trial the question of "Should you be able to sue anyone?" came up and while everyone else said yes I said it depends on the details of the case and that WV needs some tort reform to stop the overload of friviless law suits that is turning away business in the state. This got me pulled to the stand and asked if I belonged to any tort reform political parties which I answered no.

Needless to say I was not picked in the final jury selection...


/CSB
 
2013-12-24 10:23:23 AM
I see the religious right is gearing up for their next big crusade, now that they got their butts handed to them on marriage equality.

Right now they are thinking, "pornography, that's the key.  Everyone knows that is dirty and evil, and there is no way a bunch of people who like looking at porn, or "gasp" even making or staring in it, could ever be more sympathetic than a bunch of control freaks who enjoy blabbering about Jesus."
 
2013-12-24 10:29:18 AM
Let's make it harder for everyone, especially the weak, to seek justice because a statistically insignificant number of people file lawsuits that appear, on their face, to be without merit.
 
2013-12-24 10:30:06 AM
As always, the people who say "we need tort reform" mean "I should be able to personally approve every lawsuit."  If a case is completely frivolous, we have means of dealing with that:  The judge throws out the case, and bars the plaintiff from bringing it again later.  The idea that we don't punish people for it is vital, because if we did, people with legitimate greivances would be scared away from bringing their claims, because the average layperson just doesn't know whether their case is legitimate or not.

Just because a case sounds silly at first blush, that doesn't make it frivolous.  Just look at the list they provided.  2 sounds absurd, but wasn't there a cop who successfully sued because his job "trained" him into being a racist?  It's not quite PTSD, but it has a similar ring, and there's a legitimate cause of action, if nothing else.  4 entirely depends on what the woman was like before.  Great, she was able to complete a half-marathon, but if it took her an hour when she could do it in 10 minutes prior to the injury, there's absolutely a cause of action.  5 seems silly, but can anyone argue that false/misleading advertising isn't a basis for a lawsuit?  He should lose, but he shouldn't be barred from bringing the case.  7 depends on the nature of the comment.  8 may or may not have a case.  The "free tuition" thing is a red herring, if his earning capacity may have been harmed through the school's wrongdoing somehow, he has a case.  For 9, false imprisonment or harmful conduct by a store owner are absolutely legitimate cases, I'm not even sure why this is on the list.  Most of the others sound silly, but there isn't enough information given.
 
2013-12-24 10:30:50 AM

ElwoodCuse: This is a terrible solution that only benefits big companies


It's actually a decent solution, one used in many other countries.  If the plaintiff loses, he/she doesn't really lose anything.  So it's literally "why not sue, you've got nothing to lose".  Encourages anyone and everyone to file suit.
 
2013-12-24 10:31:43 AM
BTW this list of lawsuits was compiled by ultra right shiatheads the US Chamber of Commerce. Gee, I wonder why they want "tort reform" (which is as disingenuous as "pro life")
 
2013-12-24 10:36:04 AM

pearls before swine: Let's make it harder for everyone, especially the weak, to seek justice because a statistically insignificant number of people file lawsuits that appear, on their face, to be without merit.


The problem on this issue is the same with every other issue.  You have one party demanding a complete overhaul of the system, and the other party stating that things need to stay exactly as they are, because that is the most fair.  I do think we need tort reform.  I disagree with the Republicans that we need to make it near impossible for someone to sue someone else, but I do think we need some reasonable reforms.
 
2013-12-24 10:37:06 AM

Trivia Jockey: ElwoodCuse: This is a terrible solution that only benefits big companies

It's actually a decent solution, one used in many other countries.  If the plaintiff loses, he/she doesn't really lose anything.  So it's literally "why not sue, you've got nothing to lose".  Encourages anyone and everyone to file suit.


Wrong.  If you were an attorney, not part of a massive firm, would you ever be willing to take a case from some poor guy who wants to sue Monsanto/Microsoft/Apple/whoeverthefark?  They will bury you with sheer mass, and they'll drive up legal fees just to scare attorneys away from the case.  No attorney will take a case when loss means bankruptcy..
 
2013-12-24 10:37:57 AM
Funny, I would say don't ever let a corporate shill tell you we need tort reform, because the only thing that tort reform is going to do is restrict your ability to seek redress from corporations and 1%ers. Every time I hear of proposed tort reform it is never good for anybody, but insurance companies, corporations, and 1%ers. It always hurts the poor and middle class, always.


We keep getting told that medical malpractice insurance is the reason health care costs are skyrocketing, but even in states like Texas that have capped lawsuits at 250,000 dollars health care costs continue to raise. In fact the cost of lawsuits do to medical malpractice is around .5 percent of all health care costs.

In fact defensive medicine has reduced the number of lawsuits filed against doctors by 40 percent in the last 10 years. Hospital costs of medical malpractice accounts for less than 1 percent of their income. Yet we still get grandstanding politicians demanding tort reform on medical lawsuits, because they want to decrease the cost to insurance companies and improve their profitability by removing your ability to seek adequate redress in the face of injury.

We need tort reform, but not the way most people think of it. We need bigger awards and harsher punitive damages against corporations.
 
2013-12-24 10:46:21 AM

Slaves2Darkness: We need tort reform, but not the way most people think of it. We need bigger awards and harsher punitive damages against corporations.


FARK.com: where five weeks' gross income is chump change.
 
2013-12-24 10:52:42 AM

Last Man on Earth: Wrong. If you were an attorney, not part of a massive firm, would you ever be willing to take a case from some poor guy who wants to sue Monsanto/Microsoft/Apple/whoeverthefark? They will bury you with sheer mass, and they'll drive up legal fees just to scare attorneys away from the case. No attorney will take a case when loss means bankruptcy..


That might not be a bad thing...smaller firms/solo practicioners won't take risky cases.  Only the bigger firms could afford to take the risky cases.  Therefore, there would be less risky cases (which is the whole point - the risky cases I'm talking about are the ones where the claims are dubious).

Secondly, there's risk to the 'big guys' in running up their legal bills...if they lose, the big company not only has to pay its lawyers all those massive legal bills, but now they also owe the other side's.

Third, you can craft the rule such that it's not all or nothing.  For example, in California they have a weakened version of this rule...if you make a settlement demand that is refused, and you win that amount or more, the other side owes your fees.  So you only get your fees if you win AND you've given the other side a chance to settle for less than you ended up winning.
 
2013-12-24 10:55:29 AM

Slaves2Darkness: In fact defensive medicine has reduced the number of lawsuits filed against doctors by 40 percent in the last 10 years. Hospital costs of medical malpractice accounts for less than 1 percent of their income. Yet we still get grandstanding politicians demanding tort reform on medical lawsuits, because they want to decrease the cost to insurance companies and improve their profitability by removing your ability to seek adequate redress in the face of injury.


Med mal suits are still a big problem, though.  It's WAY too easy to file a suit.  In Illinois, they have a gatekeeping function where you need a doctor to review the files and assert in an affidavit that there's reasonable grounds for a suit, but that's a farce...doctors are paid for doing that review, so of course they're going to say there's reasonable grounds.  Keeps them in business.

My solution is to have an independent medical review board that must sign off on every case, and they're paid regardless of how many suits they greenlight.  You can pay them from attorneys' annual dues, or a myriad of other ways.
 
2013-12-24 10:56:05 AM
All lawsuits are frivilous.  Lawyers are all scum and ambulence chasers.  Tort reform is the only refuge of businesses and service providers who are bombarded by greedy customers or clients just looking for a payday for the slightest, honest mistakes.

And then there are the facts.

In most states, less than 5% of all lawsuits go to trial.  Fewer still result in huge awards.  Huge awards are typically appealed, and the plaintiff receives much less than the award at trial (especially with punitive damages).  Most insurers, large medical practices, and large businesses or corporations with risk and control structures calculate in potential lawsuits versus the costs associated with remidiation or re-design, and some even set aside reserves because 1) they know that whatever it is they're doing is wrong, and 2) they know they're going to get sued, 3) they know they can end most of the suits with settlements, and 4) they have a pretty good idea of what they're going to have to pay in legal fees to deal with it all during the coming year.

Yes, people find unscrupulous lawyers to sue companies all the time, or vice versa.  But most of those cases are for peanuts-that's why plaintiff's firms live and die on volume.

The real issue is that if tort reform were to be enacted the way that most of the "victimized" businesses want it, it would effectively shut the courthouse doors to anyone who couldn't pay for representation up front, or for anyone whose damages were below a certain threshold.  And that's now how the courts are supposed to work.

The courts are what keeps a civilized society moving along-instead of chasing each other through the streets with baseball bats or burning down a factory whenever somebody wrongs you or some product harms you, you take them to court.  Instead of blood or vengence, you get cash.  And the person who stands up for you in court and who navigates the byzantine bureaucracy of paperwork, timelines, and filings is a lawyer.  Yes, they get paid 20-30% of your cash, but it's cash you othewise wouldn't have, and they're taking you on as a client, not mowing your lawn.  Your case could take them a few hours, or it may drag on for years, and either way they're not getting paid to work on something else while they're helping you, and they don't get paid until you do.
 
2013-12-24 10:57:59 AM
The complaint in this case is pretty funny -- rambling and making the plaintiff appear to be slightly unhinged. (Paragraph 51: "As human beings themselves, Apple employees know that a man is born full of harmonies and attacked to (sic.) by women engaging in sexual acts with the intent to cause vicarious arousal." Paragraph 55: suggestion for a boycott. Paragraph 56: "In the 1950s, before there was in (sic.) the internet and the ACLU, we had prayer in schools, men were not flaming out academically, there was no need for viagara commercials to clog up our televisions late at not (sic.), homosexuals were substantially fewer in number....") Makes his "disability inactive status" more understandable.
 
2013-12-24 11:00:41 AM

Trivia Jockey: ElwoodCuse: This is a terrible solution that only benefits big companies

It's actually a decent solution, one used in many other countries.  If the plaintiff loses, he/she doesn't really lose anything.  So it's literally "why not sue, you've got nothing to lose".  Encourages anyone and everyone to file suit.


And forces defendants to settle for $12,500 rather than defend a ridiculous suit and face a possible $1M judgement when put into the hands of 6 people too stupid to get out of jury duty.
 
2013-12-24 11:00:51 AM
Follow the money. Who is pushing for "tort reform"? Why do they want it? Is it an altruistic push to lessen the load on the court system? Or is it a business decision to limit liability?

/How much did Ford save on the Pinto's exploding gas tanks?
 
2013-12-24 11:09:07 AM

Trivia Jockey: That might not be a bad thing...smaller firms/solo practicioners won't take risky cases. Only the bigger firms could afford to take the risky cases. Therefore, there would be less risky cases (which is the whole point - the risky cases I'm talking about are the ones where the claims are dubious).


That's exactly why it's a terrible idea.  The reason people go to the small firms is because they simply can't afford the big ones.  Making it so that only the massive firms can afford to bring these cases is a sure way to cut out all lawsuits, even solid ones.  Lawyers have been known to take contingency cases, but under your proposal, they'll only be able to get paid if they win a lot of the time, because their client can't afford them if they lose.  No lawsuit is ever certain, and what you define as "dubious" is insanely subjective.

Trivia Jockey: Secondly, there's risk to the 'big guys' in running up their legal bills...if they lose, the big company not only has to pay its lawyers all those massive legal bills, but now they also owe the other side's.


Megacorps can eat the cost, nobody else can.  The fact that they aren't guaranteed to win isn't relevant, because the whole point is intimidation.  They would want to make the hazard of a loss high enough that nobody in their right mind would take the risk.  They already use every tactic possible to do this, and your proposal just hands them another one.

Trivia Jockey: Third, you can craft the rule such that it's not all or nothing. For example, in California they have a weakened version of this rule...if you make a settlement demand that is refused, and you win that amount or more, the other side owes your fees. So you only get your fees if you win AND you've given the other side a chance to settle for less than you ended up winning.


Which mitigates the harm somewhat, but it also makes matters worse, because it removes the incentive to settle.  As a result, more cases get dragged through the full trial process, and the practical burden on the court actually winds up higher.
 
2013-12-24 11:14:28 AM
capn' fun: In most states, less than 5% of all lawsuits go to trial.  Fewer still result in huge awards.  Huge awards are typically appealed, and the plaintiff receives much less than the award at trial (especially with punitive damages).  Most insurers, large medical practices, and large businesses or corporations with risk and control structures calculate in potential lawsuits versus the costs associated with remidiation or re-design, and some even set aside reserves because 1) they know that whatever it is they're doing is wrong, and 2) they know they're going to get sued, 3) they know they can end most of the suits with settlements, and 4) they have a pretty good idea of what they're going to have to pay in legal fees to deal with it all during the coming year.

This is your defense of the current system?

Less than 5% go to trial because of the few huge judgements. Much of that other 95% are settled not based on the facts of the case but on leverage.  Plaintiff lawyers are nothing more than patent trolls, using threats of those huge settlements threats to extort money.  I want a legal system based on fact, not "risk and control structures."

And " Most insurers, large medical practices, and large businesses or corporations" as well as "1) they know that whatever it is they're doing is wrong" tells me everything I need to know about your position. The bigger you are, the more evil you are, and therefore you have it coming.  Newsflash: not all plaintiffs are giant greedy corporations.
 
2013-12-24 11:14:54 AM

capn' fun: In most states, less than 5% of all lawsuits go to trial. Fewer still result in huge awards.


Big trial awards really aren't the problem...it's the settlements.  Defendants often settle to avoid costs and trial risk.  So the lack of any real tort reform allows plaintiffs and their lawyers a legal way to extort people, corporations and insurance companies.
 
2013-12-24 11:19:52 AM

Last Man on Earth: The reason people go to the small firms is because they simply can't afford the big ones.


That's not really true.  Yes, the bigger firms have more resources so they can handle the more complex cases, but both small and big firms work on contingency.  So it doesn't matter how wealthy the plaintiff is.  What the plaintiff can "afford" is irrelevant.  Also, big firms take on a lot of "little" cases...that's how they make their money, in volume.  It's not small case = small firm, that's just not how it works.

Now, if the law firm, big or small, had the risk of paying the other side's fees if they lost, well big and small firms alike would not take risky (i.e. bad/frivolous) cases.  The extortion via settlement that we have now would be virtually eliminated.

/lawyer
 
2013-12-24 11:20:36 AM

ElwoodCuse: Banned on the Run: There is a simple solution, people.

Loser pays winners legal fees in all outcomes.

"But, but, but that cuts poor people out of the civil court system!"  No. The losing lawyer pays.

This is a terrible solution that only benefits big companies


Plaintiff lawyer are big companies.  Top lawyers make over $10M/yr.
 
2013-12-24 11:24:41 AM

Last Man on Earth: Megacorps can eat the cost, nobody else can. The fact that they aren't guaranteed to win isn't relevant, because the whole point is intimidation. They would want to make the hazard of a loss high enough that nobody in their right mind would take the risk. They already use every tactic possible to do this, and your proposal just hands them another one.


I'm not convinced that this would actually happen.  Mostly because if you have the rule, there are less frivolous cases, which means the cases that are filed are more legitimate, which in turn means that the megacorp has a better chance of losing the case and not only eating its own ridiculous fees, but also the opponent's.

But point taken.  The rule would need nuance.

My point though, as it stands now, there it really no disincentive whatsoever for a firm, big or small, to take on a crappy case and weasel a settlement out of a defendant who doesn't want the legal fees or risk of a judgment from 12 people who don't know how the law works.
 
2013-12-24 11:28:40 AM

Banned on the Run: capn' fun: In most states, less than 5% of all lawsuits go to trial.  Fewer still result in huge awards.  Huge awards are typically appealed, and the plaintiff receives much less than the award at trial (especially with punitive damages).  Most insurers, large medical practices, and large businesses or corporations with risk and control structures calculate in potential lawsuits versus the costs associated with remidiation or re-design, and some even set aside reserves because 1) they know that whatever it is they're doing is wrong, and 2) they know they're going to get sued, 3) they know they can end most of the suits with settlements, and 4) they have a pretty good idea of what they're going to have to pay in legal fees to deal with it all during the coming year.

This is your defense of the current system?

Less than 5% go to trial because of the few huge judgements. Much of that other 95% are settled not based on the facts of the case but on leverage.  Plaintiff lawyers are nothing more than patent trolls, using threats of those huge settlements threats to extort money.  I want a legal system based on fact, not "risk and control structures."

And " Most insurers, large medical practices, and large businesses or corporations" as well as "1) they know that whatever it is they're doing is wrong" tells me everything I need to know about your position. The bigger you are, the more evil you are, and therefore you have it coming.  Newsflash: not all plaintiffs are giant greedy corporations.


Most plaintiffs are represented by risk pools (insurers) or put products and services into the market on a large scale.  Corporations are not all giant and greedy, but neither are they altruistic and operate for the benefit of the consumer or user.  The laws in DE and most states, in fact, direct them to operate for the benefit of the shareholder, first, before the interests of employees, vendors, the community at large, etc.

And yes, the system operates on leverage.  Insurers and corporations use the same leverage to their advantage all the time-get in a wreck, have a bad product start a fire in your home, have a doctor botch a medical procedure, and offers to settle will materialize almost out of the ether.  But those offers are not in the best interests of the damaged party, and they are based on the leverage of all the financial and legal resources available to the insurer, the corporation, the doctor's insurer, etc.  And most people take the settlement offered, because they have no idea who drastically they're being low-balled or because they don't want to "cause a problem".

Very few people who are damaged actually retain a lawyer.  And of those few, 95% never make it to trial.  And of the remaining 5%, most of them only receive actual damages, and not the full punitive damages you read about in the headlines.

The insurers and the large corporations are doing just fine.  And they have the best talent to help them when they aren't.  They'll struggle on, I promise.
 
2013-12-24 11:34:12 AM

Trivia Jockey: capn' fun: In most states, less than 5% of all lawsuits go to trial. Fewer still result in huge awards.

Big trial awards really aren't the problem...it's the settlements.  Defendants often settle to avoid costs and trial risk.  So the lack of any real tort reform allows plaintiffs and their lawyers a legal way to extort people, corporations and insurance companies.


Extortion is when you demand payment in return for not exposing someone in some way, or for not damaging them in some way.  A lawsuit is a demand for payment to reimburse for damages, or for a loss of some kind.  If someone files a genuinely frivilous lawsuit against you, you can likely have it thrown out and have the court order the plaintiff to pay your legal expenses.

Tort reform is a solution in search of a problem, very much like voter fraud.
 
2013-12-24 11:43:03 AM
Almost as absurd as suing someone because they designed their smartphone with rounded corners
 
2013-12-24 11:44:20 AM

Trivia Jockey: Last Man on Earth: Megacorps can eat the cost, nobody else can. The fact that they aren't guaranteed to win isn't relevant, because the whole point is intimidation. They would want to make the hazard of a loss high enough that nobody in their right mind would take the risk. They already use every tactic possible to do this, and your proposal just hands them another one.

I'm not convinced that this would actually happen.  Mostly because if you have the rule, there are less frivolous cases, which means the cases that are filed are more legitimate, which in turn means that the megacorp has a better chance of losing the case and not only eating its own ridiculous fees, but also the opponent's.

But point taken.  The rule would need nuance.

My point though, as it stands now, there it really no disincentive whatsoever for a firm, big or small, to take on a crappy case and weasel a settlement out of a defendant who doesn't want the legal fees or risk of a judgment from 12 people who don't know how the law works.


Fair enough, but I just can't see what disincentive could be included that wouldn't result in significant chilling effects for legitimate-but-difficult cases as well.  Characterizing it as "extortion via settlement" doesn't change that balance, and calling it that seems somewhat disingenuous.  You know as well as I do that a lot of the time, the only reason a settlement is offered is because crushing the suit in full court just isn't worth the hassle.  There are miles of difference between a frivolous suit on the merits and a suit that's unlikely to succeed as a practical matter, and the latter is generally more common than the former.  A lot of jurisdictions already have mechanisms to grant legal fees in the first situation, I think giving that aspect more specific definitions and stronger teeth would be a better solution than hamstringing the latter group with something so broad-based as "loser pays for everything."

/2L
 
2013-12-24 11:49:19 AM
Damn, the number of people defending fat cat 1%er lawyers is huge. I always thought Fark was extremely left wing, why all the 1% defenders come out now?

Banned on the Run: There is a simple solution, people.

Loser pays winners legal fees in all outcomes.

"But, but, but that cuts poor people out of the civil court system!"  No. The losing lawyer pays.


This is America, and you know that part of any any settlement will be to incorporate not paying into the settlement. Other than that, sounds good to me. Vermin take care of their own kind.
 
2013-12-24 12:01:23 PM

capn' fun: Trivia Jockey: capn' fun: In most states, less than 5% of all lawsuits go to trial. Fewer still result in huge awards.

Big trial awards really aren't the problem...it's the settlements.  Defendants often settle to avoid costs and trial risk.  So the lack of any real tort reform allows plaintiffs and their lawyers a legal way to extort people, corporations and insurance companies.

Extortion is when you demand payment in return for not exposing someone in some way, or for not damaging them in some way.  A lawsuit is a demand for payment to reimburse for damages, or for a loss of some kind.  If someone files a genuinely frivilous lawsuit against you, you can likely have it thrown out and have the court order the plaintiff to pay your legal expenses.

Tort reform is a solution in search of a problem, very much like voter fraud.


This is part of tort reform.  The threshhold for a suit being labelled frivolous is ridiculously high.
 
2013-12-24 12:04:05 PM
capn' fun:
Most plaintiffs are represented by risk pools (insurers)

[quizzicaldog.jpg]

Insurance companies file lawsuits?
Please tell me how I can get some of this plaintiff insurance.
 
2013-12-24 12:04:15 PM

capn' fun: Extortion is when you demand payment in return for not exposing someone in some way, or for not damaging them in some way. A lawsuit is a demand for payment to reimburse for damages, or for a loss of some kind. If someone files a genuinely frivilous lawsuit against you, you can likely have it thrown out and have the court order the plaintiff to pay your legal expenses.


With respect, that's incredibly naive.  Filing a very questionable suit (on the merits) in order to get a quick settlement to (a) keep the defendant's legal costs down and/or (b) keep the dispute out of the media is a VERY common tactic.  While not extortion in the legal sense as you imply, it's extortion in a practical sense...the plaintiff does expect or even want to try the case on the merits, it simply wants to force an early settlement.


Tort reform is a solution in search of a problem, very much like voter fraud.

That's not a fair or valid comparison.  As a lawyer, I can personally vouch for dozens of terrible cases filed with virtually no risk by plaintiff firms, seeking a settlement from the insurance company.  And now that I'm a commercial insurance claims professional, I can also vouch that insurance companies pay tons of these settlements to cut down on legal costs.  Bullshiat suits cost the insurance industry a ton of money, which then gets passed on to consumers.  It's a real problem, not an illusory one.  Sure, we can debate how much of a problem it is, but I don't think it's non-existant like voter fraud is.
 
2013-12-24 12:07:24 PM

Banned on the Run: capn' fun:
Most plaintiffs are represented by risk pools (insurers)

[quizzicaldog.jpg]

Insurance companies file lawsuits?
Please tell me how I can get some of this plaintiff insurance.


Touche.  Typo-I meant defendants.
 
2013-12-24 12:17:57 PM

capn' fun: Banned on the Run: capn' fun:
Most plaintiffs are represented by risk pools (insurers)

[quizzicaldog.jpg]

Insurance companies file lawsuits?
Please tell me how I can get some of this plaintiff insurance.

Touche.  Typo-I meant defendants.


We all love to hate insurance companies, but increased costs to them do not come off their bottom line.  They merely pass costs along to all of us.
 
2013-12-24 12:22:28 PM

Trivia Jockey: capn' fun: Extortion is when you demand payment in return for not exposing someone in some way, or for not damaging them in some way. A lawsuit is a demand for payment to reimburse for damages, or for a loss of some kind. If someone files a genuinely frivilous lawsuit against you, you can likely have it thrown out and have the court order the plaintiff to pay your legal expenses.

With respect, that's incredibly naive.  Filing a very questionable suit (on the merits) in order to get a quick settlement to (a) keep the defendant's legal costs down and/or (b) keep the dispute out of the media is a VERY common tactic.  While not extortion in the legal sense as you imply, it's extortion in a practical sense...the plaintiff does expect or even want to try the case on the merits, it simply wants to force an early settlement.


Tort reform is a solution in search of a problem, very much like voter fraud.

That's not a fair or valid comparison.  As a lawyer, I can personally vouch for dozens of terrible cases filed with virtually no risk by plaintiff firms, seeking a settlement from the insurance company.  And now that I'm a commercial insurance claims professional, I can also vouch that insurance companies pay tons of these settlements to cut down on legal costs.  Bullshiat suits cost the insurance industry a ton of money, which then gets passed on to consumers.  It's a real problem, not an illusory one.  Sure, we can debate how much of a problem it is, but I don't think it's non-existant like voter fraud is.


I agree that the comparison could be better; there are certainly more frivilous lawsuits than there is voter fraud.  I and also agree that frivilous lawsuits exist, and cost insurers a lot of money.  But at the same time, I think that there are a lot of bad products, services, and practices in the marketplace which cause genuine harm to the average consumer-sometimes financial, sometimes worse.  And even in the cases typically hyped for tort reform like the "McDonalds coffee case", it can be demonstrated that the defendant knew full well there was a problem, took few if any steps to proactively rectify it, and when confronted by someone with actual injuries and damages, first tries to MSJ the case away or lowball them.

The only solutions offered by "tort reform" that I've seen effectively barr the courthouse doors to anyone who can't pony up a retainer, or to anyone whose injuries or damages aren't so clearly defined or egregious as to make it a certain win for a plaintiff's attorney.  The marketplace wants it both ways; light regulation, little oversight, and protection from economic losses when something they do or make goes sideways and somebody (or tens, or hundreds, or thousands of somebodies) are harmed.
 
2013-12-24 12:30:19 PM

capn' fun:  I and also agree that frivilous lawsuits exist, and cost insurers a lot of money.


...who then pass their costs to consumers.
 
2013-12-24 12:46:13 PM

Banned on the Run: capn' fun:  I and also agree that frivilous lawsuits exist, and cost insurers a lot of money.

...who then pass their costs to consumers.


ALL costs are passed on to consumers.  From settlements in frivilous lawsuits to increases in the costs of office supplies.  It is part of the cost of doing business with the public at large, and a very small part when compared with other parts of the balance sheet (labor, material, taxes).  Take a look at any standard 10k or annual report and you'll find that litigation expenses may get their own section to be discussed, but they rarely move the balance sheet in one direction or the other.
 
2013-12-24 12:58:03 PM

capn' fun: But at the same time, I think that there are a lot of bad products, services, and practices in the marketplace which cause genuine harm to the average consumer-sometimes financial, sometimes worse.


Oh, I agree.  I simply consider those lawsuits "not frivolous".  I'm not arguing for dismantling the system, I just want some reforms to make it harder to get any profit from truly bullsh*t suits.


cases typically hyped for tort reform like the "McDonalds coffee case"

The McDonald's coffee case is NOT a case for tort reform.  That case isn't frivolous if you know the facts.


The only solutions offered by "tort reform" that I've seen effectively barr the courthouse doors to anyone who can't pony up a retainer, or to anyone whose injuries or damages aren't so clearly defined or egregious as to make it a certain win for a plaintiff's attorney.

Personally, my solution is an independent review board that acts as some kind of gatekeeper before a suit can go to trial.  Or, more radically, getting rid of the jury systems (or require juries to be made up of lawyers).  I've seen too many cases where the law clearly dictates the defendant wins, but the jury doesn't understand the jury instructions so it just ignores them.  (I realize these may not be very practical.)
 
2013-12-24 01:22:35 PM
What about a pre-revew by a judge. If he finds the case to be crap, plaintiff gets cock punched.
 
2013-12-24 01:37:46 PM

stuffy: What about a pre-revew by a judge. If he finds the case to be crap, plaintiff gets cock punched.


Minus the cock-punching, that's basically what we do.  It's called a Motion for Summary Judgment, and pretty much every defendent submits one as a matter of course.
 
2013-12-24 03:28:43 PM

capn' fun: Banned on the Run: capn' fun:  I and also agree that frivilous lawsuits exist, and cost insurers a lot of money.

...who then pass their costs to consumers.

ALL costs are passed on to consumers.  From settlements in frivilous lawsuits to increases in the costs of office supplies.  It is part of the cost of doing business with the public at large, and a very small part when compared with other parts of the balance sheet (labor, material, taxes).  Take a look at any standard 10k or annual report and you'll find that litigation expenses may get their own section to be discussed, but they rarely move the balance sheet in one direction or the other.


Insurance companies don't have a lot of materials, etc.  It's ALL claims and litigation. (ew, I'm defending ins companies again)

When tort reform came to TX, malpractice coverage dropped by 40%.
 
2013-12-24 03:47:21 PM
Consumer litigation against a corporation costs them less than the typical CEO pay  package, what they do is use their total legal budget to cry wolf, with most of that going to insure they stay on the  razors edge of legal.

As for the  Medical side, litigation adds 1% to 2% to your medical bill, having a for profit system adds 25%.
 
2013-12-24 04:38:46 PM

Last Man on Earth: Great, she was able to complete a half-marathon, but if it took her an hour when she could do it in 10 minutes prior to the injury, there's absolutely a cause of action.


I feel the need to point out that 10 minutes for a half marathon is Six Million Dollar Man territory and an hour would crush the current woman's world record. I know that's not your point but this is the internet so it must be said.

Better: now she can complete it in 3 hours and before she could complete it in an hour and three-quarters.
 
2013-12-24 04:44:32 PM
The party of personal responsibility always wants more tort "reform"
 
2013-12-24 04:45:13 PM
btw i love torts


upload.wikimedia.org
 
2013-12-24 05:21:35 PM

Trivia Jockey: It's actually a decent solution, one used in many other countries.  If the plaintiff loses, he/she doesn't really lose anything.  So it's literally "why not sue, you've got nothing to lose".  Encourages anyone and everyone to file suit.


Any attorney who brings a frivolous lawsuit is subject to Sanctions (Fed Rule 11) and often ends in that attorney and/or client being held liable for some or all of the other sides expenses (fees).

No attorney with at least half a brain is going to bring a frivolous suit, because they aren't going to win and any money they may have made is going to be disgorged.  Besides that, are also subject to sanctions from the state bar.  Let's not forget that Orly Taitz had to pay out at least $200,000 in fines for bringing a frivolous suit.  (But then again, I said that no attorney with at least half a brain would do so, she doesn't meet that standard.)

Yes, anyone can file a suit against anyone else at virtually anytime, making just about any claim.  Doesn't mean it's going to go anywhere or not be dismissed upon the filing of an answer.  The vast, vast majority of lawsuits in this country are filed by many of the same corporations that want to limit everyone else's access to the courts.
 
2013-12-24 07:16:44 PM

Trivia Jockey: The McDonald's coffee case is NOT a case for tort reform. That case isn't frivolous if you know the facts.


On the contrary. Stella Liebeck spilled the coffee on herself. It was in no way McDonald's fault.
 
2013-12-24 07:35:38 PM

fredklein: Trivia Jockey: The McDonald's coffee case is NOT a case for tort reform. That case isn't frivolous if you know the facts.

On the contrary. Stella Liebeck spilled the coffee on herself. It was in no way McDonald's fault.


You are wrong.

https://www.caoc.org/index.cfm?pg=facts
 
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