WNY – Progress on malpractice reform

“Western New York is already home to drug courts and mental health courts that have attracted attention for achieving positive results. Now, patterned after an effort originating in the Bronx, Buffalo’s new medical malpractice court is handling cases involving hospitals affiliated with the Catholic and Kaleida Health systems and Erie County Medical Center. Eventually, it is expected to handle all malpractice lawsuits filed in State Supreme Court in Erie County.

The goal, according to Judge Judy Harris Kluger, the state court system’s chief of policy and planning, is to “help speed the process of medical malpractice cases,” aiming to reduce litigation costs and help ensure fair and appropriate resolutions. When fair resolutions are reached in the early stages of a court action, years of litigation and massive legal expenses can be avoided.

Malpractice costs are among the factors that not only drive up the costs of health care in New York but also drive out doctors, especially those practicing in high-risk specialities such as obstetrics. Anything that lowers those costs could also lower malpractice insurance rates and help to slow the outflow of medical talent.”

Read More from this Buffalo New Editorial.

 

LRANY applauds the creation of a medical malpractice court in Buffalo and is working to bring similar steps towards reform throughout the state.

Nutty lawsuit gets cracked

A California woman tried unsuccessfully to sue Nutella this year for false advertising.   She was shocked to find that the delicious hazelnut- chocolate spread wasn’t the healthiest breakfast food for her 4-year old.  The suit alleges that the commercials were misleading claiming that Nutella is part of a wholesome, balanced breakfast.

At the end of June, the ASA rejected this lawsuit, on the grounds that the commercial does not lead people to believe the product should be consumed  in excessive amounts.

Although the case was dismissed, this ridiculous lawsuit is indicative of a larger problem.

It’s time to bring back personal responsibility to our state and legal system!


Ohio obstetrician’s personal property to pay judgment

Plaintiffs prepare to seize Ohio obstetrician’s assets to collect $9.7 million judgment against her. While the attorneys have been debating for 11 months over pre-judgment interest for this case, the plaintiff received a writ of execution against the doctor. Her personal vehicle and other personal property are all being targeted.  A court hearing has been set to determine how much of doctors wages will be garnished.

Read More

With New York’s obstetricians dwindling, malpractice insurance costs skyrocketing and our extreme litigious climate, this story hits close to home. Lawsuit reform is needed to help keep doctors in our state, lower medical costs and increase New Yorker’s access to healthcare. 

 

Fox NY – Oversize Man Sues White Castle Over Seats

NANUET, N.Y. –  A 290-pound New York man is steaming mad at the White Castle fast-food chain, which he claims repeatedly broke promises to make the booths in his local eatery bigger.

Martin Kessman, 64, filed a lawsuit against the fast-food giant last week in Manhattan federal court, claiming that the uncomfortable booths violate the civil rights of fat people.

Read more of this Fox NY Story.

New York continues to be a breeding ground for ridiculous lawsuits.

 

Day before ‘Loser Pays’ launches, Beaumont lawyers file 59 lawsuits

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On the day before ‘loser pays’ tort reforms went into effect, Golden Triangle attorneys made a mad dash to the Beaumont courthouse, flooding the District Clerk’s Office with nearly 60 fresh lawsuits.

On May 30, Gov. Rick Perry signed off on House Bill 274, which includes a “loser pays” component designed to impede frivolous lawsuits in Texas.

The bill went into effect on Sept. 1 and calls for some civil plaintiffs who sue and lose to pay the court costs and attorney fees of those they sued. The law also creates expedited civil actions for cases less than $100,000 and allows judges to dismiss meritless lawsuits.

Most likely hoping to avoid that costly outcome, Beaumont attorneys filed 59 lawsuits on Aug. 31, a search at the Beaumont courthouse revealed.

Out of the 59 lawsuits submitted, 44 claims were marked as personal injury lawsuits, and encompass plaintiffs who allege they were injured because of toxic chemical exposure; medical malpractice; and even rampaging cow attacks.

Read More from the Texas Tribune.

These Texas trial lawyers are simply strengthening the case for ‘Loser Pays’ with this last minute try at a “jackpot justice” case.

New York needs these reforms to stop the frivolous lawsuits in our state! 

The extraordinary powers of New York’s AG

The Martin Act was established in Albany in 1921, it granted the Attorney General broad powers to investigate and pursue alleged wrongdoing associated with the purchase and sale of securities.  The Martin Act is one of the toughest securities laws in the nation as these powers of the AG are so extraordinary that this act does not require any elements of proof.  We have recently seen this power being executed by the past two Attorney Generals and currently being used by Eric Schneiderman in a vast attempt to rid securities companies of fraud.

A recent NY Post Article states: ” Business leaders are fuming over Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s nervy use of the Martin Act, the state law that gives him super-broad powers to investigate and press charges against alleged financial fraud. For example, Schneiderman has gone after several large energy firms for allegedly over-optimistic financial comments on upstate gas “fracking,” a charge conveniently aligned with his own anti-fracking stance. Recently he used the act in an attempt to upset a settlement deal between bankers and the feds over mortgage misdeeds — critics charge him with “blindsiding” the Bank of New York Mellon with what BNYM calls “outrageous” and “baseless” fraud charges.”

Currently, only the Attorney General benefits from such a permissive standard of proof in securities fraud.  However there is a bill circulating which would pass these powers along to private attorneys.  This action would be devastating for New York’s economy, causing a rush of lawsuits being filed against large companies by attorneys looking for a pay day.

LRANY fought against this legislation last session and was able to persuade multiple co-sponsors to remove themselves from the bill.

We will continue this fight in the upcoming 2012 session!

The commission has spoken – New York judges will get the pay raise they deserve

On Friday, the commission appointed by Gov. Cuomo to decide whether or not  to grant the New York judges a pay raise voted 4 to 3 to approve an increase of 27% over 3 years.  Our judges have gone 12 years without a raise and were some of the lowest paid judges in any state.

LRANY supports  fair compensation for NY judges.  Our judges have strong opportunities in the private sector and they need to be fairly compensated for the work that they perform on behalf of the state.  The judges in our system are talented and experienced judges whose compensation must be kept fair and current to ensure their retention.

Read LRANY’s Statement.

Disabled serial plaintiff with end-stage emphysema caught on hike

 

Los Angeles man, James Farkus Cohan says he’s disabled with end-stage emphysema, requiring a wheelchair, walker and oxygen tank.  To date Cohan has sued at least 161 small businesses, claiming those businesses are violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

ABC caught up with Cohan the other day after his daily hike up a steep hill in the Verdugos near his Sun Valley, CA home — without a wheelchair, walker or oxygen tank.  Asked for an explanation, Cohan tells reporter Marc Brown “why don’t you talk to my attorneys or doctors about all that?”

View the ABC Eye Witness News Investigation on this man and the small businesses he is terrorizing with ‘drive-by lawsuits’.

Politico – Trial lawyers prep for war on Perry

America’s trial lawyers are getting ready to make the case against one of their biggest targets in years: Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Among litigators, there is no presidential candidate who inspires the same level of hatred — and fear — as Perry, an avowed opponent of the plaintiffs’ bar who has presided over several rounds of tort reform as governor.

And if Perry ends up as the Republican nominee for president, deep-pocketed trial lawyers intend to play a central role in the campaign to defeat him.

 

NBC New York – Taxpayers Pick Up NYC’s $6B Lawsuits Bill

New York City doled out an astounding $6 billion in judgments and settlements in 10 years, some for bizarre claims of injury resulting from biting in a kindergarten classroom, tripping in a Lincoln Center parking lot, and slipping on bus steps, according to the New York Post.

Last year alone, the city shelled out $520.6 million in claims, according to a Post analysis of city comptroller records. Personal-injury claims accounted for 99 percent of the payouts for tort cases.

  Read more of this article from NBC New York which presents the clear case for lawsuit reform in our state.