10.26.2006

So sue me. Not.

First, I have a public service announcement which apparently a LOT of the public needs to hear:
You cannot sue someone simply because you were inconvenienced.

Did everyone hear that?

I do not care what you saw on Law and Order, what you read in a John Grisham novel, or what the Republicans want you to believe. You cannot do it.

If you could, I would have sued Walgreen’s, the public school system, my paperboy and the cable company – and that is just so far this morning!

Second, Tort Reform is NOT a good thing people! Frivolous lawsuits simply do not occur to the degree some would like you to believe. In fact, many so called frivolous lawsuits are actually myths created by the media.

And I swear, if any one of you cites the McDonald’s coffee lady as the uber example of how out-of-hand it has all become, I will….well, let us just say you will probably want to sue me for what I will do to you.

Currently running in my city there is a campaign commercial for a Republican Candidate for Senator. In this commercial his outspoken supporter states that the Democratic opponent is *gasp* a Trial Lawyer! Not only that, but a large portion of his campaign funds were contributed by *outraged face* other Trial Lawyers!

Wow. Okay, so why is this an issue? It seems that Attorneys have always been a politically minded group of people. It is a profession which generally produces a nice income for its peeps, so they certainly have the means to make donations. I wonder what other professions might have the same means….Oh yeah….

DOCTORS! Yes, they too make large campaign donations. In fact, the very Doctor, come Senator speaking in the commercial was backed largely by those of his own profession.

This is an issue now because the republicans would like you to believe that without tort reform we will become a crazed mess of frivolous lawsuits and all the doctors will flee our land to seek elsewhere a happy doctor nirvana where they never get sued.

Uh…folks? They are not going anywhere ‘k? They are not going anywhere there is socialized medicine, and they are not going anywhere the public cannot afford them, so guess what? They are gonna suck it up and stay right where they are because really, they have a pretty good gig here in America.

And we must keep holding them responsible. That is what this whole tort reform mess is about. It is not about stupid shit; it is about when a doctor makes a mistake that could have been prevented. It is about when a company knowingly markets an unsafe product.

Yes, people are human and errors occur – no attorney with a decent reputation would sue over an unforeseeable error. But when said error occurs just because someone was being lazy, or negligent, or cocky…well…….

Fact: It is not easy to win a medical malpractice, or a products liability case.

Fact: It costs a ton of money to pursue these cases. So much so, that even a mid sized firm could be bankrupted by the costs of pursuing a losing case.

In 2005, Victor Schwartz, General Counsel of the American Tort Reform Association, acknowledged that “it is very rare that frivolous suits are brought against doctors. They are too expensive to bring.”

Hello? Read that again, just to make sure it sinks in.

According to the U.S. Government’s National Practitioner Databank’s most recent annual report, that the nationwide median award in malpractice cases is $170,000. This is a far cry from the millions the republicans would have you believe are awarded on an almost daily basis.

So, the next time you want to call me and discuss suing your landlord because the air conditioning went out in the middle of the night and he did not rush over at 3am with a new system for you (not in any way what “reasonable” means) or you want to sue Toyota because the bulb in your vanity light popped and it scared you (“I almost” means nothing. Move along and be glad you did not actually wreck.) Or you want to sue your neighbor because he keeps talking to the other neighbors about your drug addiction, your eight bratty kids and your suicide attempt (You told him about the drug addiction, your kids are brats and the ambulance woke everyone up at 5 am) well, do not call me because I will simply tell you to take it up with your parents because apparently they raised you with the mistaken impression that life was fair and always nice.

And no, you cannot sue them for it.

No comments:

Having limitations on your lifestyle is NOT the same as being poor.