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Paradise Lost: Tort Reform Goes International

I love white sand and blue water. 

For example, I’m sitting in my office, and I have 11 pictures on my desk & bookshelf.  Five of those eleven pictures are of my wife and I or my kids on various white sand/blue water beaches.  A sixth is a post card that says “Peace. Love. Sandy Feet.”  

And I particularly love the Cayman Islands.  I made my first trip to Cayman as a kid, and seventeen years ago my wife and I were married on a private stretch of Seven Mile Beach.  Before kids (and while we had two incomes) we made a number of trips back to Cayman.  Now, a week doesn’t go by that I don’t long for my vision of paradise —  Seven Mile Beach, Smith Cove, Rum Point, Stingray City or some other Cayman destination.

But now, I learn that even heaven can be ruined. 

Today’s Cayman News Service has a story that even the near-perfect Cayman Islands are considering tort-reform legislation and caps on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases.  I don’t know anything about Cayman tort or contract law (maybe I should), but I hope they’re not too quick to jump on the tort reform bandwagon.

The reasons for the sought out reform are familiar to those of us in Texas  (and those at the Lone Star Bar & Grill on West Bay Road) — medical malpractice premiums.

While tort reform has lowered medical malpractice premiums in Texas (thought not nearly as much as Texans were led to believe), at what cost?  A week doesn’t go by that our firm doesn’t have to explain to a potential client that they’re out of luck, even though wronged by a hospital or doctor, due to medical malpractice law and non-economic damage caps.

I just hope the Cayman government slows the train down to thoughtfully consider the consequences of tort reform and potential alternatives that might help alleviate concerns without taking away the rights of Caymanian consumers.

(For those wondering, the remaining five pictures are:  a picture of my family at a UT football game, one picture of my daughter with Mack Brown, two individual pictures of my kids, and one picture of my dog.  I also have an electronic picture frame with pictures of my kids, but most of those pictures are also beach pictures  — with some Disney World pictures thrown in.)

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