Personal Injury Law Round-Up # 39

Welcome to Personal Injury Law Round-Up # 39 (and our third attempt at it). This week’s edition contains pretty big news on the US Supreme Court front, but first we’ll start off with the traditional look at tort reform.

We’ll start off with a bit of good news for those of us on the plaintiffs’ side of the docket. Bloomberg reports that trial lawyers are on the offensive in tort litigation. (Via Walter Olson and Point of Law — and Walter, I hope I got the link correct this time).

Also on the Tort Reform front, the Texas Observer has An Imaginary Crises, a review of Stephanie Mencimer’s book Blocking the Courthouse Door. Consider the book as that perfect holiday gift for all of the litigation lawyers on your list.

Kevin MD has a post on tort reform that “John McCain so gets it.” Not sure where Kevin’s going, but in the blurb cited, McCain mentioned defensive medicine and a loser pays system. Frankly, I think plaintiffs’ attorneys would support a true loser pays system. It’s when the tort reformers propose “defendant wins, plaintiff pays fees; but plaintiff wins, defendant doesn’t pay fees” that we get so upset.

We haven’t posted a lot on this story, but the WSJ law blog has an interview with John Grisham on the Dickie Scruggs saga. For more on the story, you can follow the Overlawyered’s 24/7 coverage of the Scruggs case.

And while we’re talking about plaintiff’s lawyers in trouble, the Mass Tort Litigation Blog reports Louis Robles was sentenced to 15 years for stealing settlement money from clients.

And on to litigation or injury related matters.

The big news of the week, with the potential to radically alter drug and medical device litigation, is the Medtronics case at the US Supreme Court. The transcript is available here. Ron Miller at the Maryland Injury Lawyer Blog has his thoughts, including statements that states’ rights conservatives ought to be against the preemption. Sheila Scheuerman also has her thoughts at the Torts Prof Blog.

In Georgia, a Macon woman receives a $10 million jury verdict in a sponge case. Not surprising, but the hospital plans to appeal.

Eric Turkewitz is among those reporting that the Quaids have sued Baxter over the overdose of their twins. And this time, it really isn’t about the money.

Of interest to plaintiffs’ attorneys, a Pennsylvania court affirmed a $600,000 judgment for a class of attorneys and law firms who were overcharged by a company that copies medical records.

For those of you keeping track, FiercePharma has the top 10 drug warnings and recalls of 2007. (Via Pharmalot.)

Staying on the drug front, the FDA may let drug makers recommend off-label uses.

And wrapping up the drug litigation news, Kevin MD has a post entitled Medical Journals and Trolling For Potential Plaintiffs. Not surprising, when a study is released showing that a drug or medical device is harmful, attorney websites offering to help plaintiffs taking those drugs start popping up.

Speaking of Kevin, MD, he has a post entitled Using the Layman Juror to the Plaintiff Lawyer’s Advantage, where he laments the need for health courts and the fact that plaintiff’s lawyers try to take advantage of the poor, ignorant jurors. I’ve never understood the argument for health courts (other than it being one more attempt to bias the system). Med mal litigation isn’t any more complicated than many other cases. Most serious personal injury cases require very complicated medical causation testimony and evidence, yet doctors don’t argue juries won’t work there. And med mal cases certainly are no more complicated than complex patent infringement cases. As to the plaintiff’s lawyers taking advantage of poor, ignorant jurors, I guess he forgot that most docs get high paid defense counsel with large budgets for expert witnesses to help present the docs’ cases to the juries.

And back to Georgia, where a 100+ physician clinic dropped a patient and her family after the patient filed a medical malpractice case against one of the physicians in the practice. It seems like that might be a breach of a health insurance contract, but maybe not.

And as shocking as it may be, some nursing homes over-medicate their patients.

A new study finds that even minor impacts can cause concussions and head injuries. Will that be useful to the auto litigation bar?

Finally, of interest to amusement park specialists (and fellow University of Texas law grads) Bill Childs and Ed Normund, the Washington Post had a story this week called On Thrill Rides, Safety Is Optional. You can read more of Bill Childs’ thoughts about the proposed regulation and his update on the legislation. (Of course, the proposed oversight is by the CPSC. Regular readers of this blog know what kind of job we think the CPSC is doing with their other responsibilities).

As a bonus this week, a couple of stories detailing how the internet has changed our practices.

First, as a reminder that social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace are valuable litigation tools, a new story shows that the use of a MySpace page has lead authorities to a Texas fugitive who has been living in Peru.

And in a non-personal injury case, blogs were the basis for a change of venue motion in a Tennessee murder case.

And for the miscellaneous news…..

For trial lawyers looking to sharpen their storytelling skills, we recommend The Writer’s Guild of America YouTube video Why We Fight. The Negotiation Law Blog has a couple of posts (here and here) analyzing the power of the story and the video.

And finally, for the humorous, an online version of a very funny article that I have kept in my desk drawer for over a decade, How Not to Succeed In Law School. (Via Turkewitz, Legal Antics, and Build A Solo Practice.)

Blawg Review #137 is up at Infamy or Praise. Number 138 will be hosted by de novo.

And to end this week, a lawsuit about a turf dispute in the fortunetelling business.

Brooks Schuelke

Brooks Schuelke is an Austin injury lawyer.

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC maintains offices in Austin, Texas. However, our attorneys and lawyers represent clients throughout the state of Texas, including Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Forth Worth, El Paso, New Braunfels, San Marcos, Kyle, Buda, Round Rock, Georgetown, Lockhart, Bastrop, Elgin, Manor, Brenham, Cedar Park, Burnet, Marble Falls, Temple and Killeen. By Brooks Schuelke


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