Parasitic Tort Lawyers

The trouble with trial lawyers

Tort lawyers lie. They say their product liability suits are good for us. But their lawsuits rarely make our lives better. They make lawyers and a few of their clients better off—but for the majority of us, they make life much worse.

Years back, as one of America's first consumer reporters, I'd avenge harmed consumers by bringing cameras to the offending business and confronting the crooks. My work warned others about the dangers in the marketplace but didn't do much for the victims.

So I thought about those personal injury lawyers. They could do more good—they could sue bad companies, force them to change, and get the victims money. I started referring hurt consumers to lawyers.

Imagine my shock when consumers called to say their lawyers took most of the money!

Even when the lawyers do help their clients, they hurt everyone else because fear of their lawsuits takes away many good things: Swimming pools, playgrounds, and gymnastics programs close because liability insurance is so expensive. Kids lose their favorite places to hang out in the summer.

More importantly, innovators dump potentially life-saving inventions. Companies that started work on a safer asbestos substitute, an AIDS vaccine, and a Lyme disease vaccine gave up the research because any work in those areas risked stirring up the lawyers. The liability risk was too great.

It's why I've come to think of lawyers the way I think about nuclear missiles. We need them to keep us safe. But we avoid using missiles because we understand the collateral damage they do. We ought to avoid lawyers for the same reason.

Look at health care. The lawyers claim they punish bad doctors and win compensation for injured patients, and their suits add "less than 2 percent to the cost." But there is another side to that story.

Dr. Manny Alvarez, chairman of obstetrics at Hackensack University Medical center, points out that 1 or 2 percent is just the direct cost. The indirect costs are far higher because suits force doctors and hospitals to practice defensive medicine and do unnecessary tests.

"If ... you walk in (an emergency room) with a headache, what do they do? They order a CAT scan, an MRI, you name it, " Alvarez said.

They do surgery on people who may not need it. That's safer for the doctor, although it's not safer for the patients.

Vice presidential candidate John Edwards made $40 million to $80 million—he won't say how much—pushing tort lawsuits, many of them related to cerebral palsy, which he attributed to doctors not doing C-sections.

What happened afterward? C-sections increased from 7 percent of all births to over 30 percent.

This is why I call lawyers "parasites." C-sections are bad for lots of reasons. They cost much more, they require a longer hospital stay, and they are riskier to the woman.

Have the extra C-sections at least reduced the rate of cerebral palsy? No. Not a bit. Turns out that, in most cases, the lawyers were wrong.

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  • Fist of Etiquette, Esq.||

    Is this show going to be a repeat tonight? This topic sounds familiar.

  • ||

    I hope it is a new one, last week I had my liveblog beer mug out and everything.

    Was very disappointed to say the least. Not that I put away the beer mug or anything.

    Whoa, hold the motherfucking presses, Fist of Etiquette, Esq., what are you somekinda fancy lawyer type now...should I call you Mr. Edwards

    "hey there Fist...err...I mean Mr. Edwards, nice haircut! Whaddaya gay or something, mr. fancypants?

  • ||

    "

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I've never passed a bar in my life.

  • ||

    Good response, I like it. Consider it stolen.

  • ||

    ditto

  • Suki||

    This topic is repeated in court daily across the country.

  • libertarian pedant||

    They were wrong about silicone breast implants, too. But they sure aren't giving the money back.

    Citation? I mean, i thought basically the rule was, if you have a breast implant you have to give up the rough sex.

  • ||

    Don't have time to look through my lecture notes, but there is no correlation between silicone implants and disease, at least from the studies I've read.

  • Joe||

    NEJM link:
    http://content.nejm.org/cgi/co.....32/25/1666

    Conclusions: In a large cohort study, we did not find an association between silicone breast implants and connective-tissue diseases, defined according to a variety of standardized criteria, or signs and symptoms of these diseases.

  • Joe||

    But science has never mattered to tort lawyers. All that matters is a good sob story they can sell to the jury.

  • ||

    Or a telephone survey (FFS) in the case of the Dow Corning implant suits.

  • BakedPenguin||

    But science has never mattered to tort lawyers. All that matters is a good sob story they can sell to the jury.

    Also: ...science has never mattered to tort lawyers politicians. All that matters is a good sob story they can sell to the jury the media.

  • TheNino85||

    Redundant comment is redundant.

  • ▲ ▲||

    Hypocrite.

  • marlok||

    One especially revolting set of cases concern the use of accutane. Despite no studies beyond a few case reports, lawyers have been winning millions claiming that accutane causes inflammatory bowel disease. One can find one review article after another showing the lack of data and reasoning supporting this hypothesis, but juries keep on handing out winning lotto tickets. Are doctors supposed to warn their patients of risks that aren't even real?

  • Contrarian P||

    Yes, apparently. And we're supposed to warn you of risks nobody knows about yet too.

  • ||

    But there is definitely a correlation between silicone implants and crappy looking fake breasts.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    There is a correlation between silicone implants and horrible porn.

  • ||

    "People's Warrior"? That sounds nice and Stalinist.

    It could the name of a band. What kind of music would they play?

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Wrongful-Death-Metal

  • ||

    ^

  • RSDavis||

    Nice. :)

  • ||

    +10

  • Orel Hazard||

    Awesome!

  • Rahm Emmanuel’s kippah||

    It also sounds like something the Painter of Light™ would include in one of his “paintings”...

  • ||

    Is there a Painter of Dark™? Seems like there should be one. With mall stores and the rest.

  • ||

    Yes, but the title is disputed between many.

  • ||

    Well, they all need to enter Painterdome, two at a time, and settle the issue once and for all.

  • ||

    "And all you have to fight with? A single fan brush!"

  • ||

    The Painter of Light (TM) needs a lawyer: http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/ci_15350430

  • ||

    I heard about that. He wasn't actually drunk. He was painting while driving.

  • ||

    Huh, I heard he had become the driver of drunk.

  • ||

    Most likely the same kind of crap his brother Doug played in The Knack.

  • ||

    Crap? The band that gave us "My Sharona" and, more importantly, "Good Girls Don't"?

  • ||

    Nice! "Good Girls Don't" is both an under-appreciated song and just the type of lying generalization one might expect from a tort lawyer.

  • WTF||

    What about the non-parasitic kind of tort lawyer?

  • ¢||

    What about the non-parasitic kind of tort lawyer?

    This is a story about living lawyers.

  • ||

    Maybe ProL can weigh in on this, seeing as he's a parasite lawyer.

    Q: How do you know a lawyer is lying?

    A: He/she's a lawyer.

  • ||

    Didn't know that ProL was a lawyer, thought he owned a fishing boat or something.

    It is fun to rag on lawyers, but I have had a few friends that if it wasn't for the advocacy that their lawyer brought, then their lives could of been wasted in a jail cell(for victimless crimes, of course).

    Like those guys that got Hunter Thompson off of all those charges in the nineties. I believe they worked for the fourth amendment foundation...fighting the good fight, as it were.

  • ||

    Pro'L Dib, John, Abdul, Pablo, and RC Dean are barristers of repute 'round these parts. Whether of fine or ill repute is entirely at the discretion of the beholder.

  • Abdul||

    Don't tell my mom. She still thinks I turn tricks at a truck stop for a living.

  • ||

    At least that's work you can take some pride in.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    "and the only thing an ordinary person can do is hire somebody like me, a warrior"

    -Geoffrey Fieger(The Peoples' Warrior)

    "and the only thing an ordinary trucker can do is hire somebody like me, a lot-lizard"

    -Abdul(The Peoples' Lot-Lizard)

  • ||

    That's right, I'm a charter boat captain. Where anyone would get the idea that I'm an attorney is beyond me.

    Oh, wait, that's a lie.

  • ||

    You mean you aren't the Kwittheshitz Hadenough? I have been defrauded by a charlatan! May your boat capsize and sink and may your cases chip and falter and I will reclaim your water!

  • ||

    Nah, I'm the Kwittheshitz Hadenough. You can't deny a thousand generations of eugenetics.

  • ||

    Eugenics. Sorry. Not bred for spelling.

  • ||

    Eugenetics: The systematic breeding of improved Eugenes.

  • Rahm Emmanuel’s kippah||

    I thought that was Elron Hubbard’s book.

  • ||

    That's unpossible.

  • ||

    Was Eugene Levy a product of this?

  • ||

    Yes, but just the early stages. I think he was only Weapon IV.

  • ||

    Eugene Cernan isn't one. Little-known fact: He's a native of the Moon visiting the Earth.

  • ||

    Eugene, Oregon?

  • ||

    Law professor Eugene Volokh?

  • ||

    Reporting for duty, sir*

    *-really lamely, ala John Kerry at the convention-

  • ||

    I will admit that the only good lawyer is one's own defense lawyer, and it's not like I haven't used them in the past.

  • ||

    I have yet to require the services of a med-mal defense atty, but odds are I will at least once in my career. Incidentally,the people who really get the red carpet rolled out in hospitals are spouses and family members of med-mal attys. They get wide berth and are the squeakiest wheels who get the most grease.

  • ||

    Sometimes the best fix for a squeaky wheel is to remove it, and throw in down into the incinerator.

    Then just go to the wheel store and buy a less noisy model.

  • ||

    Well, this thread is about tort trial lawyers, not about, say, Institute of Justice lawyers.

    Perhaps there is such a thing as a good tort trial lawyer other than the lawyers who defend the targets of these suits, but I have yet to see any such person I didn't consider a scumbag.

  • ||

    So much of the practice of law has a sleaze component that it is really hard to avoid being tainted. I can avoid a lot of it being in house, but there are times where I have to be evasive about the truth when negotiating contracts, and I frequently get out-and-out lied to by counsel I'm negotiating with.

    One of the reasons I wish I'd gotten an engineering or science education instead.

  • ||

    I actually considered going into criminal defense law, specializing in drug crimes. I decided that a career of seeing the worst that the system can do to people would leave me a broken shell of a man.

  • ||

    Like Social Workers. An employment prospect review at my university showed that the average person receiving a Masters degree in Social Work averaged only 20 months in the field. Idealism rarely survives first contact with reality.

  • Leaders with Plans||

    Wrong again, NutraSweet. Our Grand Plans have obviated the need for more Social Workers. We have transitioned them to More Bureaucratic Pursuits.

  • WTF||

    One of the reasons I wish I'd gotten an engineering or science education instead.

    I actually did get a science degree, undergrad. Then 14 years later, career change, went through law school, ended up at a "biglaw" firm. Now I'm wishing I had just gone sailing instead. Pay is good, but I sit at my desk on a daily basis wanting to stick a pencil through my jugular.

  • ||

    I briefly considered becoming a lawyer in college, but common sense or perhaps laziness prevailed and I married a doctor instead and now enjoy a life of (mostly) indolence.

    Though every paying job I took after college wound up having me do quasi-lawyerly stuff, since it turns out I'm pretty good at reading legalese, and once employers realize that they start replacing your official job duties with the lawyerish stuff.

  • ||

    One of the reasons I wish I'd gotten an engineering or science education instead.

    I am of the opinion you should have been a physician, Pro'L Dib. I strongly suspect you would have made a fine one. Just my opinion.

  • ||

    Are you going to offer him proctology tuition now? ;-)

  • ||

    I would rather do that than do your PAP smear db! ;-)

  • ||

    Well, thank you very much. Of course, counting against me is my love of House, M.D., the only network show I watch (though only on DVD). That's more of a Sherlock Holmes/Blackadder thing than a medical thing, I suppose.

  • ||

    I'm always expecting Hugh to break into Prince George mode on House. But he never does, and it makes me sad.

  • Geotpf||

    There's a lot of [citation needed] in this article. For example:

    "Companies that started work on a safer asbestos substitute, an AIDS vaccine, and a Lyme disease vaccine gave up the research because any work in those areas risked stirring up the lawyers."

    What companies? What vaccines? Maybe the stuff didn't work, or had other side effects. We simply can't tell from his article.

  • ||

    A lot of the time the article is a teaser for the show, hence why Stossel's articles run every thursday.

    Usually, but not always, these loose ends will be explained on the show, either by The 'Stache, or one of his guests.

  • mr simple||

    This might work if I got Fox Business or whatever it's called.

  • ||

    Fox Business is getting better, The Judge's show is now aired instead of being relegated to the web.

  • Joshua||

    I've heard that Stossel is available on Hulu a couple of weeks after airing. I DVR it, so I can't say whether it's true or not.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    I was bummed out when he did the teaser on the CRA and Rand Psul and the show that night was just a rerun. That would have been a ballsy show.

  • mr simple||

    That's the thing about Stossel's reporting. I always think he's bringing a good story to light, but he just barely scratches the surface. I always leave with the feeling that I don't really know any more than when I started.

  • RSDavis||

    There's some truth to that. I at least see it in his Reason pieces. They just don't have the depth found in the work of other people here who get as many words.

    That said, his articles are kind of "libertarianism for beginners" articles. But Reason generally assumes we know all this stuff, so what we want are specific examples and numbers, and new ways of looking at the issue.

    That's not really his milieu. He stands out a bit because what he writes is more generalized than what we usually get with Reason.

    But I still like having him around. :)

  • ||

    Stossel is Libertarianism Lite­. Tastes OK, less filling.

  • ||

    That works.

  • Joshua||

    He's on TV & his text is syndicated for the masses. That's Lite by definition.

    Except maybe for Olbermann. There's nothing lite about that teeth gnashing.

    And Beck. That's not exactly crazy lite if you know what I mean.

    never mind.

  • ||

    Beck is kind of like Malt Liquor Lite. Or maybe Jooze lite.

  • ||

    Mostly being a lawyer is about making money.

    Unfortunately, "lawyering" doesn't actually produce anything. In essence it is a negative cost associated with conducting operations or producing something.

    The way the law is currently structured in the US encourages this kind of behavior at the expense of both innovation and practical application.

    It is a weakness of our society that needs fixing.

  • Geotpf||

    I dunno. If one had a choice between a strong legal system such as we have, and a weak one, I would choose the strong one every time. Investment would be discouraged in a situation where you couldn't sue somebody easily if they ripped you off and didn't do the work they were supposed to or whatever.

  • ||

    My issue isn't a strong legal system versus a weak one.

    My issue is that the current system makes this a very easy way for the lawyer to make alot of money without much in the way of personel risk. It is essentially a ticket to ride with regards to ripping people off.

    I simply want the system changed so that the lawyer (not the plaintiff) makes very little off of the case regardless of outcome. This would remove the incentive for the more egregious behavior out there.

  • WTF||

    My issue is that the current system makes this a very easy way for the lawyer to make alot of money without much in the way of personel risk. It is essentially a ticket to ride with regards to ripping people off.

    Oh yeah! That's exactly right - got that law degree, and next thing you know, you're just coasting along on easy street while the greenbacks just flow in - almost no effort at all! It's just so EASY, and it's all done just by rippin' people off! SUCKAS!!

    Where's that damn eyeroll smiley?

  • Mike the Grouch||

    No. Lawyers and their customers should be free to negotiate the price of legal services without your interference.

  • Joshua||

    Mike's right. Don't restrict freedom of contract.

    On the other hand, loser pays is not a restriction on freedom.

  • Sean||

    The money a plaintiff's lawyer collects from a judgment is governed by statute, in CT where i live, no more than 1/3, so if you have a problem with how much money a lawyer can make off a judgment, take it to your representative. As far as risk is concerned, Lawyers are at risk for monetary sanctions by a court for various things including frivolous lawsuits, and legal malpractice, which can cost tremendous amount in money and reputation. (disclosure: I'm a Lawyer)

  • jacob||

    Complaining that lawyers make too much money is comparable to whining about athletes making too much money.

  • ||

    Yeah, as a lawyer I'm obviously biased (and an asshole) but the whole "lawyers are a negative cost" argument is silly. As a civil defense attorney my job is to protect wealth, which may not be AS significant as creating wealth but is still important.

  • ||

    Protect wealth from other lawyers who want to take it away. See how this works? Not jumping on you, but that's the way nonlawyers see it. And they aren't always wrong.

    We're not necessarily parasitic, but many of us make a grand attempt to be so.

  • ||

    I realize people think that way, but then the argument is really about how CERTAIN lawyers practice, not the profession itself. The legal practice is ultimately a service industry; if you want to attack one of the thousands of things wrong with it, by all means go ahead (I certainly have my fair share of complaints). But it's not inherently about breaking windows and fixing them; it's just evolved that way.

  • ||

    I agree that it doesn't have to be the way it often is, but it seems like the feeling that lawyers are parasites is a common one throughout history.

  • ||

    I'll be the first to admit there's good reason for that. I have kept in touch with tons of friends from college and grad school, but only four from law school. You can figure out why.

  • ||

    Lawyers are virtually identical to doctors Pro'L Dib. Think about it. Always getting hit up for free advice by friends and family. Members of both professions have an stereotypical pre-occupation with golf and are incessant targets of class envy, strawmen, and No True Scotsmen diatribes. Both have a plethora of bad jokes dedicated to them and are generally despised until needed: then you are their savior and bestest buddy in the world.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Personally, I used to have a great deal more respect for doctors than lawyers. That was until a doctor wrote "acetaminophen" on my chart while my liver enzymes were 6x normal. Damn good thing I knew that it was toxic to the liver, or I might be dead now. Unfortunately, that incident turned me into an asshole patient - my trust level is much lower nowadays.

  • ||

    Are you serious? APAP for elevated liver enzymes? What a jackass!

  • ||

    I've have at least six doctors try to give me beta-blockers.

  • ||

    Ahem...did they not read your chart, Saccharin Man?

  • ||

    Not in the hospital. Different internists who presumably read at least a gloss of my history before coming in the room. One actually argued with me until he looked it up.

  • Joshua||

    I don't understand. What's wrong with beta-blockers.

  • BakedPenguin||

    APAP for elevated liver enzymes? What a jackass!

    Turns out I had a "sludgy" gall bladder (but no gallstones).

    I knew fatty foods were causing the pain, but I didn't know why. The hospital first ignored my request for a cardio (e.g., low fat) diet. I only ate some of the veggies - until I tasted the butter. That was enough to trigger another attack. They'd already gotten a liver panel back, so the doctor should have known to at least put ibuprofen instead of APAP.

    I confronted the nurse with this info, and she said she'd have to call the doctor (it was 2 am or so). I told her that she should do that, and if the doctor gave her any grief, to tell him that the patient pointed out that he had prescribed acetaminophen to someone near liver failure, and that the pain was due to the hospital ignoring a patient's request.

    She was back within 30 minutes with a vial of morphine. She was also real happy when I didn't ask for any more in the morning.

  • Jen||

    That's why I can't help laughing in the face of every moron who rants about how pharmaceutical companies shouldn't be able to advertise because "we should just trust our doctors." Thanks, but I'd rather research every medication I hear about that might apply to me, so I can compare side effects and contraindications to aspect of my family and medical history I might not have thought to tell my doctor.

  • BakedPenguin||

    In my experience, pharmacists are far better informed about drugs than physicians.

  • ||

    In my experience, pharmacists are far better informed about drugs than physicians.

    They are. There are over 3300 drugs listed in the Pharmacopeia, and I sure as shit can't remember them all. Most physicians are most familiar with ones they routinely prescribe from a "set" pharma list that is endemic to their specialty modified by either personal preference and/or "encouragement" from Big Pharma.

    That, BP, is the main reason why I argue for pharmacists to have prescriptive authority.

  • ||

    That you argue for anyone to have "prescriptive authority" at all illustrates why it is so hard to attain freedom. Every person should own his or here own body, and that person (or a legal guardian, if the person is incompetent) should have the final word on how to deal with that body, whether for purposes of food, medicine, recreation, livelihood, physical conditioning, etc. A "prescription" should only be advice from a health care provider or even a pharmacist, not legal sanction to obtain particular drugs. Your "sanction" should be your own purchase request.

    If you start from the premise that the government has the just power to control your actions in this case, then you immediately reduce the amount of freedom you can attain. You have locked yourself into a cage and handed the keys to government as your jailer.

  • ||

    xxx every person should own his or HER own body...

  • ||

    Families dealing with Schizophrenia everywhere rejoice.

    Think a little.

  • ||

    I agree with you JAM, 100%. However, the reason I have to argue at all is because the system is what the stupid licensing system is. And medicine is reaping the rewards of getting into bed with government to sire this latest in the line of unholy cannibalistic health care spawn.

    I would argue that the majority in this country are willing to shit can their freedom if bribed with the right type of UHC.

  • ||

    Hoover: "Don't screw around. They're serious this time."

    Otter: "Take it easy. I'm pre-law, man."

    Hoover: "Thought you were pre-med."

    Otter: "What's the difference?"

  • WTF||

    Mostly being a lawyer is about making money.

    1. Thereby proving you don't know squat about most lawyers' practices.

    2. And any other business is not?

    Re: 1., above: take a look at how many lawyers have become unemployed in the past 2 years, and how many recent law school grads are unable to find employment in the field of law. The majority of lawyers these days are not making huge money - and certainly not the kind of money that a lot of non-lawyers seem to assume they are.

  • Apogee||

    The majority of lawyers these days are not making huge money

    But still attempt to charge 450/hr to read materials and then completely fail to even do a simple Nexus search that might find relevant caselaw.

    The result? "Hmm, you might have a basis for a complaint, but I really can't say."

    Color me unimpressed.

    When the legal profession becomes about practicing law, and not bilking clients, then maybe some respect will be due.

  • WTF||

    Bad experience with a lawyer?

  • Apogee||

    Not me personally, but from several others - one in particular:
    5 years, 7 law firms, half a million in legal fees, and it's still playing out.

    All the legal advice was shit, and I'll bet you that you know of some of these firms.

    The legal system, as it works now, is (IMO) nothing more than a scam.

    If it wasn't for folks like IJ (to whom I contribute), I would be building Trebuchets in my backyard and organizing the villagers.

  • ||

    "Parasitic tort lawyers"

    Isn't that redundantly repetitive?

  • ||

    What you did there, I see it, it's there.

  • Byron||

    You kinda ruin it when you point it out, L.

  • Atilla||

    Why did you have to put up a picture of John Edwards with this post? The poor man has suffered enough. It's time to move on.

  • Moz||

    Because a picture of Geoff Feiger would break the Internet.

    I once got on an elevator in a federal courthouse in which he was riding. I've never had that kind of involuntary desire to punch somebody in the face.

  • ||

    Tort lawyers have their place in the grand scheme of things. You don't hate a crow when you see it feeding on the burst intestines of a roadkill possum, do you?

  • ||

    +1
    I'll be using that with my lawyer associates...

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Tort lawyers have their place in the grand scheme of things. You don't hate a crow when you see it feeding on the burst intestines of a roadkill possum, do you?


    We need them as much as we need prosecutors.

    The big issue is how to handle the Mike Nifongs and Harry Connicks in their ranks.

  • Apogee||

    Look, you might not like the guy's music, but lumping him in with Nifong is simply unfair.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Look, you might not like the guy's music, but lumping him in with Nifong is simply unfair.


    The musician's name is Harry Connick, Jr.

  • ||

    Not Harry Connick, Jr., Esq.?

  • ||

    There are good plaintiffs lawyers and bad plaintiffs lawyers, just like there are good defense lawyers and bad defense lawyers. It's simplistic and misleading to paint ALL trial lawyers as parasites (fun as it may be). I would argue the biggest problem isn't the lawyers... it's the JUDGES who let them run rampant. Judges are supposed to serve as gatekeepers to the legal system, ferreting out frivolous claims. If they would do their jobs, parasitic plaintiffs attorneys wouldn't have an incentive to take on bogus cases. Unfortunately, most judges (especially at the local level) are political hacks and the plaintiff's bar is one of the biggest lobbies in the country, so you put two and two together...

  • Van||

    One must apply Pareto's Rule, at least 80% of trial lawyers are parasites, at most 20% of trial lawyers are not parasites.

  • ||

    It's not like every case is frivolous and without merit.

  • Jen||

    True, but even the meritorious ones have waaaaay too much irrelevant discovery (e.g., obtaining ophthalmology records in a cancer case), extended way too many times. Paralegals like me are instructed to make chart after chart, all presenting the same damned data in every conceivable way, all just to keep up those billables and charge the clients even more money. And in the end, the jury can't tell the difference between the frivolous cases and the meritorious ones anyway, because the overwhelming majority of jury members are stupid (remember, these are the people who couldn't figure out how to get out of jury duty).

  • Pendulum||

    Aren't you every bit the equal parasite, happily cashing the checks of a law firm that you believe bilks its clients, and participating in the fraud?

  • Jen||

    It certainly isn't fraud, but I see your point. A job's a job, especially these days. I've been trying to leave the legal field for months, but I suppose I should have thought of it sooner.

  • Jen||

    Anyway, "equal parasite" is a pretty silly thing to say. I am an assistant to lawyers, and I do that job well. The job those lawyers in turn do for their clients has nothing to do with me. These people honestly believe they need all the stupid charts, but that is another matter. As for the endless and irrelevant discovery, blame the judge for allowing endless extensions and scorched earth discovery policies, not lawyers who will of course try to make all they can on billable hours.

  • Mike the Grouch||

    The problem is that judges *are* lawyers. And the entire supply of lawyers and judges is restricted by requiring attendance at law school and passing a mandated test.

    This inflates the price of any lawyer's service and reduces the competition amongst them once in the field. Trial lawyers are probably the best lawyers out there if they're the ones making the big bucks.

    Perhaps we should look to develop an arbitration system wherein the judge makes more than the lawyers for being so damn great at his job of guiding a case to an appropriate judgement.

  • Old Man With Candy||

    Unfortunately, one doesn't even see a judge until at least $50k has gone into the lawyer's pocket. Make that $500k in the case of IP litigation.

  • Apogee||

    There's nothing more humorous than listening to a Judge complain about his over-crowded docket - right before he pushes any decision, meritorious or not, down the road - Simply because he's too lazy to actually familiarize himself with the case.

    Humorous in a sickening kind of way.

  • ||

    THAT is a refreshing comment and point of view that is not heard enough today, despite the surfeit of "I HATE LAWYERS" jokes. Judges have a legal right to use common sense and dismiss garbage lawsuits outright....but they never - or only rarely - do.

  • ||

    Great, now John Stossel is an MD diagnosing when C-sections should be performed. His case against C-sections? They are more expensive?

    They have certainly become more common among OB-GYNs themselves. Is that because of fear of liability? Or a belief in the procedure? I get the feeling that Stossel is just making stuff up. My patience grows thing with Stossel.

  • Abdul||

    Fear of liability drives a lot of it. OB-GYN's have the highest malpractice insurance of any specialty (actually, tied with aenesthetologists).

    I'm too lazy to look up the studies, but I know I read them in law reviews, one of the few valid (albeit tiny) arguments in favor of socialized medicine is that unnecessary defensive medicine like c-sections aren't done in those regimes. (I know, I know, rationing has trade-offs, yadda, yadda).

  • ||

    OB-GYN is the highest (always dealing with at least two lives). Anesthesiology is second (keeping someone in the very narrow limits of death and induced coma is very precarious). Third, any doctor who performs major surgery (level I, II, and III).

    Nowadays, there is evidence of some medical benefit by opting for a C-sec, but more and more women are pro-actively requesting the procedure.

    C-sec is indicated if the patient has had a prior C-sec; once a woman goes C-sec, all subsequent birth are C-sec.

  • Ragin Cajun||

    VBAC?

  • ||

  • ||

    Thank you, Leah; I should have said "most subsequent births." Very informative, Leah.

  • ||

    It's recent enough (and hasn't heavily been publicized)that I figured most people haven't heard about it yet.

  • Jen||

    Shouldn't radiology be up there too, from all the failure to Dx/false Dx/failure to timely Dx cases?

  • ||

    No, because any physician is subject to Fail/False/Fail to time Dx. Same for a clinical pathologist, as neither of those specialties, the pathologist in particular, barring cadavers, have direct patient contact.

  • ||

    My sister is an OB-GYN and has had three C-sections. The point is that she advocates for C-sections because she believes in them, both for herself and for her patients, not because her already exorbitant liability costs might go up. That cost just gets passed on to the patient anyway.

  • ||

    A lot of OBs are pro-c-section personally. They aren't pushing them generally because they're somehow evil, they're just letting their personal biases and experiences get in the way of actual scientific evidence that it is a riskier way to birth and if the benefits outweigh the risks of surgery, then it's definitely needed, but if they don't, c-sections cause problems that vaginal births don't. Many OBs suffer from severe observational bias and remember the bad vaginal outcomes without dwelling on the bad c-section outcomes.

    Another part of the problem is that the current medical management of a typical vaginal birth causes problems (like pelvic floor issues being caused by lithotomy position, forceps, episiotomy, etc. as opposed to birthing without those interventions) that c-sections are then performed to prevent. It's a vicious cycle where more intervention leads to more intervention leads to major surgery. It also causes a problem with parents who want to have more than 1 or 2 children. Each subsequent c-section gets riskier and riskier for the mother because of the way the scar tissue heals each time, so going with elective c-sections means you had probably better be comfortable with limiting your family's size based on the number of surgeries you've had.

  • marlok||

    I blame it on impatience. A pregnant woman is writhing in pain, her labor is prolonged, and maybe the ob saw a little blip on the fetal heart monitor that was worrisome. It's nearly impossible to be patient and wait hours and hours for progression in those instances.

  • ||

    Three home births, one midwife, one assistant, zero C-sections, zero episiotomys, zero epidurals, zero chance of getting infected at the Hospital = Three happy healthy children and two happy parents.
    BTW, Reason had a story on Home Birth way back around 1982.

  • ||

    "They aren't pushing them generally because they're somehow evil, they're just letting their personal biases and experiences get in the way of actual scientific evidence"

    The point of Stossel's article is that lawyers are driving C-sections, and I'm merely pointing out that this is not true. As you say, many OB-GYNs believe in C-sections, which is contrary to the they all prefer vaginal delivery but go with the C-section in order to avoid liability. Stossel really is a crappy reporter. He just makes things up without really investigating his statements.

  • ||

    Yes, I agree about the lawyer thing being a cop-out mainly. It's also frustrating because when doctors lobby for tort reform, they are taking away the only recourse women have to get compensation for inadequate care - including damage done by unnecessary c-sections.

  • Mike||

    Groovus, actually, anesthesiology malpractice insurance rates have declined significantly over the last decade or so, in relative terms, mainly because of advances in patient-monitoring technology. (I am an anesthesiologist, BTW.) We can safely anesthetize ever-sicker patients with good outcomes. So you're not correct in that regard.

    As for C-sections, it's more complicated than you'd think from reading the mostly ill-informed speculation that's passing for discussion here.

    From my perspective as someone who's involved in C-sections on the anesthesia side, the high c-section rate seems to have a lot to do with increasing numbers of very obese women getting pregnant (believe me, there's a guy out there who'll f**k just about anyone); from the insistence of patients on avoiding "labor"; and from the increasing demand by patients (with the acquiescence of their OB's) to "schedule" and "regulate" deliveries with labor-inducing drugs, before the fetus is "ready" to be born. IOW, to make childbirth into a medicalized consumerist elective procedure, like Botox injections.

    But it's absolutely true that fear of litigation drives this significantly. Basically, an obstetrician can be sued for anything or nothing; the statute of limitations clock doesn't even start ticking until the rejected-by-Harvard idiot-spawn-of-fat-smoker-mother turns 18.

    You want to lower the c-section rate? Wave your magic wand, and make pregnant women skinnier; stop incentivizing pregnancies among the mostly unhealthy, uneducated, poor women who mostly give birth on the taxpayer's dime; stop people from smoking and doing drugs during pregnancy; stop my colleagues from placing labor epidurals (under immense pressure from obstetricians and hospital admins who aggressively market "painless" labor experiences to paying customers) before labor naturally commences, unaided by drugs; un-"medicalize", as far as possible, all deliveries of healthy women with normal pregnancies; and, generally, just make people far less stupid, selfish, and whiny.

  • ||

    I have been saying for a while that really the only thing that legitimately benefits from socialized health care is the maternity care system, given that in most cases less intervention = better outcomes for some 85ish% of women. As much as I'd love to see our current maternity system change to one more similar to much of northern Europe (midwifery care for most low-risk women, leaving the 15% of high-risk women in the care of OBs, making transfer of care easy in the event a low-risk pregnancy becomes high-risk), I am still philosophically opposed to government funded health care - to say nothing of not willing to throw cancer patients and the pharmaceutical industry under the bus to benefit maternity care.

    But then that means that the current system where ACOG actively rails against increased midwifery care in order to preserve their government-sponsored monopolies on prenatal and birth care also sucks, and if you're libertarian, you don't have an easy fix ("let's just have socialized medicine!").

    In maternity care, the safest way to have a baby is to have the least amount of intervention possible. When interventions have benefits that outweigh the risks, then great, but the WHO has said repeatedly that a c-section rate of under 5% increases risks because too few are performed and a c-section rate of over 15% increases risks because too many are performed. Ours is at 32% right now - which means a lot of mothers are dealing with healing from unnecessary major surgery while trying to care for a newborn.

    I'll take my midwifery care and the ability to be up and around the day after birth instead of a weeks-long recovery (that can stretch to months and years if there are surgical complications).

  • ||

    I'll ignore the thing with Stossel that your patience is growing, but with respect to c-sections, it could be fear of liability or it could be that doctors are lazy and profit from it:

    "For women who are not high-risk, hospital policies like labor induction and continual fetal-heart rate monitoring increase the rate of the surgery. There is really no downside from the hospital’s point of view: medical charges are increased for mother and baby and liability is reduced. Doctors don’t get paid for time spent attending to a lengthy labor but they also have clear financial incentives—whether from fees or from the expectation that they will avoid costly lawsuits—to perform cesareans. In some regions and at some hospitals, cesarean-sections are imbedded in the culture that pushes continual medicalization of birth."

    (full story here). I'll let you decide who you want to blame, but there's pretty strong evidence that there are way too many c-sections going on in the U.S. right now.

  • ||

    I believe Edwards made part of his millions convincing juries that babies who were born with cerebral palsy (IIRC) were that way because the doctors did not do a C-section. Apparently there's no real scientific evidence of this, though.

  • x,y||

    He's a pro-choice Democrat who once channeled the "voice" of an "embryo" for the jury. But that was in his tort lawyer days, so we can't really hold that against him, now can we?

  • Mike||

    Of course there isn't any scientific evidence of causation. A certain percentage of babies are born fucked up. The beauty of our legal system is that the tort bar has figured out a way to monetize this unfortunate reality without actually having to present any scientific evidence of causation, or even correlation.

    Quite clever, actually. So now there are many counties in the US, especially in rural areas, where you can't find an OB taking new patients, if there's an OB even practicing there.

    Which may not be a bad thing entirely, since a lot of women could more safely squat over a hole, Plains-Indian style, and expel their future tax-dollar-sucking spawn, than enter the medicalized system of childbirth we currently enjoy.

  • ||

    My Favorite Lawyer joke: What's the difference between a lawyer and a Vampire?... One is a blood-sucking parasite and the other is the evil undead.

  • Tim In Philly||

    I also love CBS sitcoms and Jeff Dunham!

  • Jim Belushi||

    And I love Tim In Philly!

  • ||

    What's the difference between a lawyer and a Vampire?... One is a blood-sucking parasite and the other is the evil undead.

    Hmm, must have something to do with where you are located. I always heard the joke as "What is the difference between a lawyer and a catfish? One is a bottom dwelling shit eater and the other is a fish"

  • WTF||

    Nah, that's just another joke. I've got a folder full of lawyer jokes - seriously. I must have a couple hundred that I accumulated over about 10 years. I should put them together in a book or something.

  • ||

    For anyone interested in this topic the book "Gallieo's Revenge: Junk Science in the Courtroom" by Peter W. Huber is a good overview of spurious "experts" used by lawyers to get big settlements.

  • ||

    You're attempting emulate your hero Ensign Crusher?

  • ||

    He got molested by The Traveler?

  • ||

    I wonder if he changed his device that gave him night-time orders in Picard's voice after that?

  • ||

    Had to look that up, not a trekie.

    Dude is Gordie LaChance from Stand by Me.

    Gordie: Suck my fat one, you cheap dime store hood!

    Chris: Who ever told you, you had a fat one?

    Gordie: Biggest one in four counties!

  • MWG||

    If there's one thing I hate more than pedophiles and rapists, it's parasitic tort lawyers.

  • Suki||

    The lack of alt-text is sexist.

  • ||

    Anti-terror stop and search powers to be scrapped

    Police forced to abandon power to stop and search the public without reasonable suspicion after European court rules it illegal

    Alan Travis, home affairs editor
    guardian.co.uk, Thursday 8 July 2010 14.07 BST

    The police's use of controversial counterterrorism stop and search powers against individuals is to be scrapped immediately, the home secretary announced today.

    Under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, officers can stop and search anyone in a designated area without having to show reasonable suspicion. Interim operational guidelines to be issued to the police say that in future section 44 powers will be used only to search vehicles, and officers will have to have grounds for suspecting they are being used in connection with terrorism.

    Section 44 stop and search powers were used on more than 148,798 occasions last year and have been a key element in the campaign against terrorism.

    The home secretary's decision to scrap their use against individuals follows a ruling by the European court of human rights in January that the powers were unlawful because they were too broadly drawn and lacked sufficient safeguards to protect civil liberties.
  • RM||

    Good threadjack, thanks.

  • WTF||

    Much of the non-lawyer public tends to paint all lawyers with a very broad brush. The reality is that most practicing attorneys never set foot in a courtroom. There are literally hundreds of different practice areas and many, many ways to practice law or otherwise use a law degree. But people here about seemingly outrageous lawsuits and jury awards and decide that all lawyers are greedy opportunistic parasites, etc.

    It's unfortunate that 93% of the lawyers gives the profession such a bad reputation and ruins it for the rest...

    Setting aside the ambulance chasers, the vast majority of lawyers I know represent businesses and spend much, if not most, of their time dealing with government regulations and agencies, rather than litigation against other private parties - or just working on completing large, complicated transactions.

  • ||

    It's unfortunate that 93% of the lawyers gives the profession such a bad reputation and ruins it for the rest...

    One of RC's Laws?

  • ||

    A crushing example, in fact.

  • WTF||

    Uh - no; entirely and completely intentional. See, that's one o' those lawyer jokes I mentioned upthread.

  • WTF||

    Guess I have to stop delivering these things in such a deadpan manner - or work in a winky smiley. ;-D

    See?

  • Fiscal Meth||

    You inserted a winkey smiley after stating your intent to use winkey smileys in the future, which leads me to believe that your statement does not represent genuine intent. As your attorney, I strongly urge you to reconsider.

  • ||

    It's unfortunate that 100% of politicians give the rest of the profession such a bad reputation and ruin it for...oh never mind.

  • ||

    It's unfortunate that 100% of politicians give the rest of the profession such a bad reputation and ruin it for...oh never mind.

  • ||

    How appropriate.

  • Mike||

    There have actually been several studies showing that tort incidence and rewards have not actually been increasing.

    Unfortunately, most of the negative effects of an overactive tort system (defensive medicine, liability insurance, no more "fun" toys) occur just as well with a perception of increased tort liability as they do with an actual one.

    Big cases make the news, but rarely in a form that gives the details of why the judge decided in that manner. Or the filing of a suit may be reported on, but not the fact that it was dismissed as frivolous a month later.

    I think our problem is less slimeball lawyers (although I'm sure they are plentiful) but as with many things the failure of our monkey brains to deal with national and worldwide news organizations.

  • marlok||

    I got big love for lawyers in general. All the ones I know personally are hard-working people providing people their representation.

    I bet it must suck having people like John Edwards (specifically his legal career, not his subsequent indecencies). People think of guys like this who won frivolous lawsuits and degraded our society, but never think of the lawyer on the other side who was fighting against it. And as mentioned above, people never think about the judge who sat there and let it happen.

  • marlok||

    "people like john edwards... representing you publically"
    I didn't preview. I have failed you all.

  • Warty||

  • ||

    Clutch Cargo?

  • ||

    Cargo Clutch? Like where they worship a plane and shit?

  • ||

    No, Clutch Cargo.

  • ||

    Dang that song was fucking good. I haven't listened to Clutch in about fifteen years, good to see that they are still around.

    Clutch lead singer = tiny dude with a monster voice...It's true, I saw them live and he is 4'2" tall, and has scary eyes.

  • Warty||

    Did he have an incredible beard when you saw him? It's become such a part of him that I can't imagine him without it.

  • ||

    No, he looked like he does in the video that you linked. Though, they did have that flag hanging behind them at the shows that I went to. I believe it is the Maryland state flag.(where they are from)

  • ||

    Eugenetics: The systematic breeding of improved Eugenes.

    It didn't pan out for that Robinson guy.

  • ||

    You get a few mules here and there.

  • cynical||

    Making it harder to get punitive damages would be a step in the right direction. Also, creating a system where punitive damages were not given to the plaintiffs or to the court would be helpful (creates perverse incentives otherwise -- the only incentive for punitive damages should be to see the offender lose money, not to want to gain money).

  • ||

    The problem with the tort system is the ignorance, gullibility and downright stupidity of jurors.

    I'm open to suggestions on how to fix that. My ideas are hardly democratic.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    The problem with the tort system is the ignorance, gullibility and downright stupidity of jurors.

    I'm open to suggestions on how to fix that. My ideas are hardly democratic.


    Replace it with a computer program, of course.

    We have computer programs that can make cars, you know.

  • ||

    Stick to the principle of a jury of peers. "Peers" in a medical devices lawsuit are not waitresses and housewifes and roofers.

  • ||

    What beef do you have against married roofers that bang waitresses?

  • Jen||

    I wholeheartedly agree on this one and have seen it at work. As for ideas, doesn't the defendant have the right to opt not to have a jury and let the judge decide? If I were a corporate defendant, I'd probably do that every time.

  • ||

    As for ideas, doesn't the defendant have the right to opt not to have a jury and let the judge decide?

    Depends on the state.

    Most of my colleagues, the ones who have been sued, want a judge to decide and forgo the jury. The judge is generally much more likely to be impartial and not blinded by pre-conceived notions of class envy.

  • Jen||

    As far as I know, civil cases will be bench trials unless one of the parties requests a jury and pays a fee (though I guess if the plaintiff's complaint includes a jury demand the defendant no longer has a choice).

  • leavemealone||

    A juror's stupidity should evident by his failure to promptly insert his unopenned jury summons into a paper shredder.

  • Jen||

    There are so many more creative ways to get out of it. One of my favorites is saying something along the lines of, "I know I'll make a great juror. I can tell if someone's guilty just by looking at him." Sadly, I'll never have a chance to use that since, as long as I'm on a rescue squad, I'm exempt from jury duty anyway.

  • ||

    Just be bluntly honest and opinionated. You'll be outta there toot suite.

  • Tony||

    God damn, looks like another session of Professor Stossel's Libertarianism 101.

    Next week he'll tell us why we need fewer regulations on business. That way we can all be more free to be poisoned and maimed AND more free to not be able to sue.

  • marlok||

    come on, dude. You're not even trying.

  • ||

    Too busy with his law practice.

  • ||

    I am a lawyer (though not tort lawyer), but I hate this sort of arguing by anecdote. Hey, guess what, I could point out cases where dangerous practices did change for the better, unreasonably unsafe practices by defendants, etc.

    Not to mention, for every verdict one doesn't like (thinks there shouldn't have been a lawsuit) there's a plaintiff, judge, jury and lawmakers with equal or greater responsibility for what happened.

    Best "fix" - but it requires government action! - is what some jurisdictions (Canada, U.K., etc.) have: loser pays at least a portion (there's a tariff chart of amounts) of the costs of the winner. You sue someone and lose (or get less than what they offered to settle for!) and you pay (some of) their costs. You win, they pay your costs. Helps discourage frivolous lawsuits, unlike caps on damages (there may be a place for caps on damages in some contexts, e.g. perhaps on punitive damages relative to the non-punitive portion, but "loser pays" is a more effective deterrent to frivolous lawsuits).

  • Alice Bowie||

    You would eliminate lawsuits by doing this. Are you sure (as a lawyer) that this is what you want ?

    Why don't we just ban lawsuits and let the free market fix everything.

    If some company starts making products that kill people, consumers will stop buying that product.

    And, those that were injured by the product can always to the Church or some charitable organization to be made full.

  • ||

    I'm currently living and practicing in Canada; loser pays rules certainly does NOT eliminate lawsuits!

    If you object to such a system, fine. But don't object to it for a demonstrably untrue reason.

  • ||

    Honestly, that seems the best way to go. Frivolous lawsuits would probably all die on the vine.

    There also hasn't been mention of lawyers using a blitz tactic of simply overwhelming defendants with serial lawsuits...that regulation would stop that.

  • ||

    How to fix the tort system:

    (1) Loser pays the winner's costs.

    (2) Someone who uses a product/service or engages in an activity where they know or should have known the risks, can't recover if one of those known risks bites them in the ass.

    (3) Someone who is negligent in in using a product/service or engaging in an activity and is injured can't recover.

    IOW, pretty much the tort system from a hundred years ago.

  • Guest - 1||

    But what if you are mildly negligent using your toaster, such that a reasonable person may expect a minor burn, and instead it blows up and puts shrapnel in your jugular, something no reasonable customer could forsee? Should the toaster manufacture not have to pay for its massive negligence because of your minor negligence?

  • ||

    What if the case is a 42 USC 1983 action against LEOs where the LEOs move to dismiss upon the ground of qualified immunity?

  • ||

    I think the tort system is a much better way to handle matters than the administrative/regulatory state.

    I totally agree with RC's point number 2. Although the loser should pay in many cases, I can't go for a straight loser pays in all cases as this would chill tort claims against the state and state actors.

  • Guest -1||

    The problem with point 2 is figuring out where it stops. If you drive a sports car can you not sue if a semi-truck hits you, even though you knew that riding is a sports car was less safe than riding in a bigger vehicle (semi-truck, tank), and that because you were on the road you ran the risk of getting hit?

    What incentive do semi-trucks have to drive safely in that world? They are not at risk of injury themselves and so long as they are not criminally negligent (a high bar) they would not need to worry about being held liable.

  • ||

    I suppose driving a sports car, in and of itself, would not fall within RC's proscribed zone of conduct barring any recovery. True, you could argue that I am making your point.

    At the risk of being presumptious, but fair to RC, I think he would bar recovery to the operator of the sports car who would seek damages from the New England Patriots and Robert Kraft, in his individual capacity, for the injuries he sustained in his failed attempt to surmount 15 cars, in a parking lot located on Route 1, adjacent to Gillete Stadium, several hours after the Patriots had pounded the Packers in a pre-season snoozer, with his 67 Corvette.

    Something like that.

  • Guest - 1||

    Perhaps, but under your hypo what did Kraft or that Pats do that was a tort in the first place?

  • ||

    Nothing.

  • Guest -1||

    As a lawyer and someone who had to use a tort lawyer for a wrongful death suit I have to say that this article paints with WAY too broad a brush. Not every company or individual is an innocent trying to ease mankind's suffering, nor do they do the "right thing" on their own after they f*ck up.

    Sometimes you do need a lawyer to drag them into court where they are forced to pay attention to what they did and bare the costs.

    Besides, the companies need to bare the costs so they can make efficient decisions rather than be subsidized by their victims. I can see that, particularly in the med mal context there can be problems, but that is not all of tort law, or even all of med mal. Is the tort system inefficient and prone to abuse? Yes. Is it sometimes essential to secure justice? YES!

  • ||

    You mean "bear" the costs, not "bare" the costs.

  • Guest - 1||

    So I do! *insert excuse about not getting much sleep due to moving*

  • ||

    Or lack of air conditioning!

  • Guest -1||

    Ironically, I moved from DC, where it is hot as hell, to Texas, where it is currently not bad.

  • Paul||

    What? I thought the market ran better when we could go around shitting on each other's lawns so we don't have to clean up our own mess.

  • ||

    It's on, anyone out there?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    My attorney suggested I not watch this episode.

  • ||

    As your attorney I advise you to take the brown bottle out of my shaving kit, and take a tiny hit.

    All you need is a tiny taste.

  • ||

    John Edwards: Fetal clairvoyant, how sweet.

    Cut that baby out, or it'll be mangled.

  • ||

    Wasn't that Dr. Kevorkian's lawyer?

    The gray haired irishman, that is.

    seriously.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Feiger is sooooo going to sue Stossel.

  • ||

    Quick google...Feiger was Dr. Death's lawyer.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Whoa, that Stossel zoom frightened me.

  • ||

    Drs are lazy...dude you channel dead babies for millions...come on

  • ||

    Scary...Feiger as an obgyn

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Dr. Manny isn't like the selfless doctors I see on ER. He wants paid for his work.

  • ||

    Hell yeah!

    Better him than an insurance company or Feiger.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    John Stossel: Prop Comic

  • ||

    Fight! Do it, pussies.

  • ||

    Did I ssstttuutter ssttarrk, move bitch.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    We should sue people who don't use ladders correctly.

  • ||

    You cannot do it...

    Yeah it's in chinese

  • ||

    someone should put a sticker on albert stark...May cause drowsiness

  • ||

    These guys are killing your show, John. Please get the giant cane to drag them off the stage. If this was the apollo theater these dudes would be dead.

    Last word...thank god.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    John should have a black robe on right now.

    "Tonight, on Judge Stossel...!"

  • ||

    As long as he doesn't try to sell me gold.

    I cannot wait for that bubble to burst, and the end of the slimy gold selling pitchmen on tv.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I'll take any gold that you don't want off your hands for you.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Ooo, I hope the cameraman who took that high overhead shot of Crystal at Basketballtown was using his ladder correctly.

  • ||

    Whoa, somebody sue that kids barber!

    Booyah

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Crystal should sue Supercuts for her kid's haircut.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Damn you, cap.

  • ||

    So sue me...

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Copland doesn't understand that trial lawyers own most of this country's legislature.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Well, maybe he does understand.

  • ||

    It is called pack causation, I am surprised that they won the case...

    geese!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Copland was a good movie, btw.

  • ||

    Isn't that the drummer from the Police?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    What, Stossel has a golf cart and a go kart? The government better not have bought him that too.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Caution: Dignity not included

  • ||

    Audience laughter felt forced, meh.

  • ||

    You're going to let them pick...they will totally have an inflated sense of self importance now...this could have legal repercussions.

    Swine blast, wooo!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    What if I want to grow my hog?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Courtney could be a guy's name.

  • ||

    Courtney is a dude...yuck,dude you totally made out with him last night.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I call Godwin on Time Life.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Ugh, this is going to be the absolute worst.

  • ||

    Somebody needs to drill Stark...in the face with a brick

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Stark doesn't get any dough when consumers act responsibly.

  • ||

    Stark is the show killer.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I'm suing Hantler and Stossel for collusion.

  • ||

    That was worded badly, insinuates that corporations knowingly commit crimes

    Stark!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Stark bills by the minute.

  • ||

    ummmm ah

    Mr.


    um ahh E t i q u e t t e

    oh

    I re======sent

    the

    um i m p l i c a t i o n

    that gurgggggle

    I would bilk

    my BRAINSBRAINS clients

    in such um a


    manner.

  • ||

    Aww fuck here comes Ralph Nader on methadone...hide yer fucking wallet.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Ooo, slammed by Lucy Liu.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Mz. Liu was a plant. Intern written all over her.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    They did have that smackdown video clip a little too at the ready, didn't they?

  • ||

    Dang 'Stache got whupped, dang I wish he woulda been armed, and put a couple of holes in that troglodyte.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Studio wrestling is fake, cap.

  • ||

    Stossel won a settlement though, indicating that the guy actually beat his ass.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The judge was Vince McMahon.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Caps on BP's liability didn't do anyone any favours. Well, almost anyone.

  • ||

    I don't agree with caps on lawsuits, strikes me as a way to get off cheaply for malicious corporate actions that do sometimes happen.

    What I would favor is loser pays system, and an end to liability being assigned to the deepest pocket regardless of how tenuous their connection to the injurious event.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Tell that to Truman.

  • ||

    C'mon Stossel, don't use the spurious "only first world nation that.." argument. A lot of statist policies are advocated for with the same.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Time for brand new Futurama. Suck it, Cavuto.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Top marks boys!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    If you were watching the show, jump in with some comments. Stossel Live Blog is lame with only the two of us. (Between you, me and the publically-funded lamppost, I think capitol l is a bringing our numbers down.)

  • ||

    Between you, me and the publically-funded lamppost, I think capitol l is a bringing our numbers down.

    Ridiculous! You know it is a certain Mr. Albert Stark that put all of the livebloggers to bed.

    Seriously, it would be cool if ten more people were doing this.

    I still hate Albert Stark.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    (in old timey producer voice)
    Poppycock boys! Your a hit, a smash I tell ya! Fist and L's ratings are up!up!UP!

  • S. Williams||

    I'll take trial lawyers over the alternative, which is a government regulatory body that looks after consumer safety. Right now trial costs are higher, but regulatory costs are lower.

  • ||

    I have watched many, many attorneys "milk" their clients on clearly losing cases, just for that attorney's own personal financial gain. Although I worked with honest attorneys and courts for many years, over the past 2 years I came to understand fully where the term "shark" came from. Friends tell me they have dealt with Judges with a "no attorney = no justice" policy, or who had to deal with public
    "pretenders" and DA's that had to win at all costs (even if the defendant wasn't even guilty), just to get more federal crime/drug "funding".
    I PERSONALLY CHALLENGE ANY HONEST, MORALLY CORRECT, ATTORNEY WITH A CONSCIENCE TO CONTACT justicewatch09@yahoo.com to prove there are still a few good and honest attorneys out their that care about the people injured by doctors and others, instead of just "the bottom line" for them financially.
    Justice Watch '09 is dedicating to protecting the civil liberties of the disabled, elderly and poor.

  • ||

    Great article. Could not be more on point. Tort lawyers operating in the healthcare arena, in most but not all cases, are after easy money more than any form of justice provided to the patient. It is no coincidence that an abundance of tort lawyers focus on the cerebral palsy issue; that's where the money is. Many more egregious errors are made on the part of doctors, nurses and PA's but don't get half the attention from lawyers because of the lower payout. A doctor should NEVER have his/her clinical decisions influenced by the threat of a frivolous lawsuit but unfortunately it happens all the time. It seems like everyone pays the price, except for the lawyers. It's disheartening to know that people with close to no medical knowledge exert such a massive influence on patient care, but greed seems to infiltrate all aspects of society. Ultimately the problem will continue to be overlooked since A) Lawyers are, by definition, adept at the art of argumentation/manipulation and B) The country is literally run by a brigade of lawyers while the physician community is about as politically organized as a group of fifth graders. Until healthcare workers and patients wise up to their dirty little game, lawyers and insurance companies will continue to get rich off of a healthcare system that should have remained in its simplest form from the beginning: between doctor and patient.

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  • Justin Sobodash||

    I am an attorney in Los Angeles, California. I've practiced law here since graduating from UCLA Law in 2001. I've been a dyed-in-the-wool libertarian since the age of 16. I can't say how simplistic this article is.

    I started practicing at a big firm doing defense work. I defended insurance companies that denied people's claims, class actions brought by consumers for misrepresentation, toxic exposure cases, catastrophic injury cases, and did both plaintiff's and defendant's work in intellectual property matters. Almost always, I worked for the "big business" side.

    From a libertarian perspective, some of the causes of action I defended against should not exist. Private employment discrimination actions, for example. But others clearly should. I would put toxic exposure and catastrophic personal injury cases in this category.

    Of the causes of action which would exist in a minarchist libertarian society, I would say about 50-60% of those lawsuits I defended had a fair amount of merit. People were really damaged, often quite badly, by a corporate or other defendant's negligence or recklessness. And about 90% of them were brought by people who really thought they were wronged (not just people who cynically sought to make money by bringing a lawsuit).

    If there were no "trial lawyers" (it really should be "plaintiff's lawyers" throughout this article, since less than 2% of lawsuits go to trial) those people who had wrongly been denied insurance coverage, exposed to asbestos, stabbed by a negligently hired co-worker, had their copyrighted work stolen, etc. would have no remedy.

    It is far too simplistic to just bash plaintiff's lawyers as a class - without them people would have no remedy for genuine grievances. Bashing elitist, moneygrubbing lawyers isn't a solution. It's populist tea party babble and anger.

    I had an Austrian client in a patent infringement lawsuit and I had some exposure to the Austrian system as a result. As I understand from talking to Austrian attorneys and business people, before a civil lawsuit is filed an attorney must make a preliminary evidentiary showing to a court that there is a basis for the claim. This cuts out a lot of meritless lawsuits and makes the practice more of a profession and less of a mercenary enterprise.

    By contrast, in America, a plaintiff can file a complaint and bury a defendant with discovery. Often companies just settle for the "nuisance value" - an amount slightly less than the estimated cost of responding to the complaint and discovery.

    I think Americans genuinely interested in making our legal system more fair to business and more efficient should be talking about this. But maybe thinking is less entertaining than bashing lawyers for sport.

  • jacob||

    "simplistic" is putting it lightly

  • Alan||

    In the United States, the number of licensed medical doctors is artificially limited, but the number of lawyers is not.

    In Japan, the number of lawyers is artificially limited, but the number of doctors is not.

    Most things cost between two and four times as much in Japan as in the United States, but medical costs are typically half or less what they would be in the United States.

    Perhaps we could learn from their example?

  • ||

    Fieger is an idiot.

  • Byron||

    Was there a 'resounding NO' this week? I might have missed it...

  • Jordan Shoes||

    so perfect

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