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cal04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-06-09 04:31 PM
Original message
Senate Votes to Spare Plaintiffs' Lawyers
Source: Associated Press

The Senate has voted to spare plaintiffs' lawyers in medical malpractice cases from a cut in fees.

By a vote of 32-66, the Senate rejected an amendment by Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., to cap the fees that plaintiffs' lawyers can collect when they win a case.

Ensign would have limited the lawyers to one-third of the first $150,000, and one-fourth of additional amounts above that. Democrats said the amendment was one-sided because it would not limit fees for defense lawyers in malpractice cases.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/12/06/us/politics/...
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ck4829 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-06-09 04:46 PM
Response to Original message
1. OMG, it's teh trial lawyers!11!
These Republicans don't mind putting caps on how much lawyers can get, yet we'll never have price controls on gas and prescription drugs because that's SOCIALISM (!!!1111!!!!11).
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SharonAnn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-06-09 09:35 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. So ony the lawyers on one side have their fees limited, but the other side not?
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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-06-09 11:43 PM
Response to Reply #4
13. That's what they did with the bankruptcy "reform" bill
in 2005. Debtor's attorneys had to sign an affidavit affirming the truth of a bankrupty client's filing in regards to their listing of their debts. This meant that the attorneys had to spend hours more researching the matter to ensure that, if a client omitted a debt in his filing or if he misrepresented an amount or a debt, he wouldn't risk sanctions and disbarment. Yet they couldn't charge any more for that, even though they could easily spend over a day's work on it.

Creditor's attorneys, however, were totally spared such nonsense even if THEY were less than truthful on their own responses and filings, which, as we all know, creditors often do and will misrepresent debts.
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keopeli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-07-09 06:33 AM
Response to Reply #13
18. Thanks for explaining that so succinctly.
:yourock:
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mbperrin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-06-09 10:20 PM
Response to Reply #1
7. Also capping Wall Street bonuses on bailed out organizations is
socialism!!!


Oh noes!
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saigon68 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-06-09 06:19 PM
Response to Original message
2. Wasn't Ensign the guy who had diaper sex?
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ck4829 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-06-09 06:21 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. That's Vitter
Ensign's the Senator who had an affair and then tried to buy the family off.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-07-09 04:17 AM
Response to Reply #3
14. With a "gift" from Ensign's parents to the mistress, her husband and her kids, aka tax evasion, plus
an illegal lobbying job for the husband of the mistress.

IOW, Vitter saw a prostitute for diaper sex while Ensign risked the well being of two families, put his parents at risk for tax fraud and committed, at minimum, a violation of Senate ethics.
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gratuitous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-06-09 09:37 PM
Response to Original message
5. Nice headline from the Times
Suggested alternate headline: "Senate Votes to Keep Courthouse Doors Open to Poor"
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unabelladonna Donating Member (483 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-06-09 10:02 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. hubby's a lawyer
there are too many BS lawsuits and there should be a cap on fees. the ambulance chasers (and there really are many) would think twice about starting many ridiculous suits. we as citizens pay for them with high premiums and unecessary testing which in turn means higher medical expenses. yeah, i know i'll be flamed but i've heard many doozies.
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maglatinavi Donating Member (614 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-06-09 10:52 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. hubby's
yeah! you should be flammed! How much does hubby charges for an hour of his services???
:puffpiece: :freak: :wtf:
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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-06-09 11:38 PM
Response to Reply #8
12. He's probably a corporate or collections attorney who
spends his days wasting his skills and knowledge helping companies screw people over rather than use his skills for the good of people. Seen enough of those types, too.
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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-06-09 11:36 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. Oh, what fucking horsehit. Hubby's also an attorney
and I've been a paralegal for fifteen years. In all that time I've heard of ONE maybe possible frivolous medical malpractice suit, and that wasn't even filed because it had no merit. I've seen some doozies, too. Like the doctor who told the parents of a teenage girl brought into the ER ill that she was just "playing possum" and he wasn't going to bother with her, he had more pressing patients to check on, when he didn't even bother to examine her. Then he paid no attention to nurses who tried to alert him to her worsening condition, claiming she just "wanted attention." Less than twelve hours later, she was dead from bacterial meningitis. The doctor's own colleagues refused to cover for him after review of the records and were horrified. But the parents couldn't do anything about it, because, in their state, fees were capped so few attorneys were even taking such cases because they simply couldn't afford to.

Another friend lost her husband to an ER doc who sent him home after he'd come in with chest pains and breathing trouble. The doc claimed it was just "heartburn". He died the next afternoon of a heart attack. He'd been having one while at the ER and if he'd been kept there and properly cared for, it wouldn't have happened. The doc claimed he didn't know, but physicians who reviewed the records said the tests clearly showed he was having a heart attack and he NEVER should have been sent home, period. So, in effect, the doc killed him.

I could go on and on and on and on. Yes, I agree, as far as personal injury and that kind of thing there are, indeed, some doozies. But I'm not talking about that, I'm talking about medical malpractice.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-07-09 04:24 AM
Response to Reply #6
16. Let me guess. Your hubby is corporate defense lawyer or corporate inhouse counsel.
Edited on Mon Dec-07-09 05:03 AM by No Elephants
Sorry to see you and your hubby falling for Republican lawyer bashing.

Besides, federal court rules and court rules or laws in every state permit judges to sanction both the plaintiff and his or her attorney for bringing a frivolous lawsuit. If the suit is all that frivolous, let the lawyer for the doctor's insurance company move to sanction the plaintiff. Yet, so few do. Guess it's a lot easier to bloviate about lawsuits' being frivolous than to put their own legal fees where their mouth is.

On edit: Or, in fairness, maybe your husband was talking about tort cases other than medical malpractice cases, as another poster on this thread intimated. For example, suing MacDonald's because fast food is fattening or because MacDonald's serves hot coffee at hot temperatures is very, very different from a medical malpractice case.
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gratuitous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-07-09 08:05 AM
Response to Reply #6
19. I've worked in civil litigation for 30 years
And as a secretary/legal assistant/paralegal, I've seen people horribly wronged by large corporate concerns who could never have afforded to pursue a case on their own without a system of contingent fees in place. I've worked both sides of the aisle (so to speak), and have yet to see a "BS lawsuit" progress beyond either "failure to state a claim" or summary judgment stage. The legal fees for an insurance company defending such a suit rarely crack five figures, hardly the stuff that fuels high premiums.

On the plaintiffs' side of the bar, I've also seen lawyers invest hundreds of hours of time, thousands of dollars in costs for research, site visits, depositions, and expert opinions, and walk away from a claim because there wasn't a reasonable chance of success based on prior cases. Nobody reimburses the plaintiff's lawyer for cases that go nowhere, unlike the defense bar, which bills its clients for every reasonable cost, even on cases of clear liability that should have been settled by a claims adjuster and never even gotten to the stage of hiring an attorney. When insurance adjusters and pig-headed corporate decision-makers refuse to negotiate at all with people they've maimed or the estates of people they've killed, they incur tens of thousands of dollars for fees and costs, which get paid for somehow, usually in the form of those high premiums and unnecessary tests.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-07-09 04:20 AM
Response to Reply #5
15. +1 (Brilliant post!)
Edited on Mon Dec-07-09 04:26 AM by No Elephants
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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-06-09 11:28 PM
Response to Original message
9. Oh, for Christ's sake, not THIS shit again!
I am SO SICK of this shit. Several months ago, I lost my best friend of thirty years to a HORRIBLE case of completely inexcusable medical negligence; what's even worse is that she suffered horribly for an entire year before finally succumbing. The doctor responsible should never practice again and I have NO problem with her family's attorney getting well-compensated. NONE. Being in the legal field, I know exactly just how much detailed work and preparation go into a case and EVERY cent of that compensation is EARNED. We will NEVER get over this loss, ever. She should have had at least forty more years of life. And I personally know of several more cases of gross medical negligence that caused great harm that should never have occured.

How many of us would work for months on something not just without any pay, but having to upfront ALL fees and expenses involved, with no guarantee of receiving anything in the end? That's the way it is with these cases. That's why there's really no such thing as a "frivolous" malpractice suit. It costs attorneys thousands, quite often tens of thousands, of dollars of their own money to prepare cases. They must upfront all costs, fees, expenses, etc., etc., and there's no guarantee they'll prevail in the end and receive anything, even with a very strong case, as most of them are. That's why they don't take cases without merit, they can't afford to. Each case is researched and checked carefully, including reviews of the medical records by physicians, and must be determined by those physicians to have merit, before they'll take a case.

That's why caps on fees are so damaging to those who've been harmed by medical negligence and malpractice. If the fees are capped at less than what it would cost both to prepare for the case and to even break even, the attorney's not going to be able to take the case no matter the merit. Doctors can earn whatever ridiculous amount they want with everyone falling all over themselves in praise, but let an attorney make just one dollar and let the screaming begin. Here's a bit of advice for doctors-you don't want to be sued? Then DON'T commit negligence and malpractice and cause grave harm and/or death to people.

And why is it that I only hear lately about malpractice reform to "spare" doctors and "control costs", but NEVER hear about the victims of malpractice? It appears that doctors and their political benefactors are only interested in protecting them from accountability from the consequences of their negligence and couldn't care less about the victims. The Senate didn't "spare attorneys" here, they spared malpractice victims from not being able to get representation to recover their rightful damages.
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Renew Deal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-06-09 11:29 PM
Response to Original message
10. Ensign should vote to cap the pay of divorce lawyers
And probably criminal lawyers too.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-07-09 04:30 AM
Response to Original message
17. Sure. Any lawyer will work on a case for 1-3 years for less than it would take to break even
Edited on Mon Dec-07-09 04:57 AM by No Elephants
on his office overhead alone. (Office rent, costs of equipment and supplies, salaries of secretaries, associates, paralegals, etc.)

Not to mention out of pocket costs like court filing fees, exeroxing, etc. (The winning lawyer does collect these years later, but not interest. The losing lawyer eats them, along with everything else.)

Or compensation for two or three years of time spent on something that might or might not pay off in the end.

:sarcasm:

Way to protect the medical malpractice insurance companies from victims who are probably dead or damaged for life, Ensign. Fuck you and all your fellow plaintiffs' attorney bashers--on all sides of the aisle--(R), (D) and (I).
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