New York Personal Injury Law Blog » Metrolink Train Crash, tort reform


July 19th, 2011

Tort “Reform” Claims more Victims

Remember the Metrolink train crash from 2008 out in Southern California? It claimed the lives of 24 innocents people and injured over 100 more because a train engineer was texting while driving and missed a signal.

But Congress granted immunity for all claims over $200 million, forcing a local judge to make a Sophie’s Choice among victims, while the negligent corporation went skipping merrily away after paying the cap.

Andrew Cohen has the heartbreaking story at The Atlantic: The Real Victims of ‘Tort Reform’

5 thoughts on “Tort “Reform” Claims more Victims

  1. @Avenger

    Just read the Point of Law coverage. There are more straw men than – well – there’s a lot of them, including –

    Concluding what the awards to each person would be based on what appears to be an average, rather than the actual awards by the Judge;

    Asserting that a law capping recovery in a restricted circumstance (passenger rail accidents) that comes into play once in 15 years means that the theory behind damages caps is valid, I assume that Mr. Frank has never, ever used an illustrative example or anecdotal point to support an argument (wait a minute, his entire article concludes that you can not assume caps are bad because of this one example, that’s not statistics!);

    Concluding that the value of one’s life and contribution to one’s family is properly measured by the size of one’s life insurance policy (if you have one at all);

    And with trial lawyer greed – Why is Mr. Frank not writing about my recent case where my client a young lady suffering a scar to the face had to fight tooth and nail against an insurer and defense attorney who refused to negotiate until the eve of trial, in the face of liability decided on motion. I assume it is ok for insurers to earn interest on unpaid claims and for defense attorneys to run up fees in based on a poor decision to defend, but not for plaintiffs attorneys to collect their full fee (a fee which if calculated hourly often exceeds the portion of the award received, not mentioning the cases in favor of the defense where no fees are received).

  2. @TomH

    Wow – what corner of the Universe did you come from ? While it is theoretically possible, and probably does happen on smaller cases, I can’t recall a large ($1M) personal injury case in which the plaintiff attorney would have made more money being on an hourly fee, except for those cases when there is a defense verdict at the trial level