In this week’s edition of BusinessWeek there is a great article on how out of control America’s tort system has become. Some interesting points made:
Alabama radiologist George Martindale cursory second opinions- done without direct examination or medical history- were used as clinical evidence in silicosis claims. This was done without Martindale’s knowledge, he wrote to plaintiff attorneys, "I learned that you had cited me as the diagnosing physician in certain silicosis cases. I told you that I personally had made no diagnoses"
In this same case of 10,000 alleged silicosis victims 99% came from the same 9 doctors. One doctor analyzed 1,239 patients in 72 hours.
"Lincoln Electric Holdings Inc. in Cleveland are fighting claims against the makers of welding materials is also are taking aim. In a case involving about 1,100 plaintiffs in U.S. District Court in Cleveland, defense attorneys are using questionnaires to root out suspicious claims. They say some 40% of plaintiffs claiming neurological damage as a result of inhaling welding fumes have been plaintiffs in silica or asbestos cases. A single physician has diagnosed a majority of the claims."
U.S. Chamber of Commerce has begun building a database identifying relationships among screening companies, doctors, plaintiffs’ law firms, and claimants.
Basically the article describes how defense attorneys are gaining some ground on many of these outrageous mass tort claims where the plaintiff’s attorney is the only person who wins. The real victims are left with very little compensation and the court system overrun with fraudulent claims.
We should applaud US District Court Judge Janis Graham Jack of Texas for standing up for justice when he threw out many frivolous claims stating "These diagnoses were manufactured for money" continuing, "These diagnoses were about litigation rather than health care"
To check out the full text of the article visit A Break for the Defense