Dr. Dave Stewart is a California anesthesiologist. He supported tort “reform.” Then his 72 year old mother died after knee surgery from an undiagnosed bowel obstruction. When the family tried to hire a lawyer, they were turned down by two dozen different medical malpractice attorneys. (LA Times: Lacking Lawyers, Justice is Denied)
Why were they turned down? Because California has a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages (pain and suffering). And since his mom wasn’t working, it meant that any recovery was very limited. When you figure in the tens of thousands of dollars that might be needed for the case, and the vast amount of time, and the high risk of taking such cases, the lawyers weren’t interested.
Now guess what? Dr. Stewart isn’t such a fan of tort “reform” anymore. Surprised? Me either. It happens like all the time. Remember tort “reformer” Robert Bork? He sued big time for his injuries. Ever hear of Frank Cornelius? He wrote in the New York Times in 1994 how he was “crushed by his own reform.” In fact, the blog TortDeform has a gallery of what they term the “hypocrites of tort reform.”
Perhaps these people fall in the category of, “What’s good for thee is not good for me.” Or, perhaps, they have simply never given full thought to the true ramifications of their actions.
(hat tip: Day on Torts)