Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Personal injury lawyers clients caught in political games

Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorneys have known for sometime that political game-playing has been a major reason for the claim that there is some "medical malpractice insurance crisis." However, the author of Malpractice Makes Perfect in Washington Monthly takes specific aim at the Republican Party. Personally, I don't like one party being the "enemy" as it seems the battle lines in the "tort reform" war have blurred and I take issue with certain Democrat too. Notwithstanding the politics of medical malpractice, this article makes for interesting reading.

Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Wisconsin residents are not lawsuit happy

Wisconsin personal injury lawyers are constantly telling me how people who have been seriously injured through the negligence of another say "I'm not the kind of person to file a lawsuit." I have heard this myself at least 50 times. Yet, despite the fact that Wisconsin residents do not like filing lawsuits. Wisconsin Public Radio recently interviewed Philip Howard of "Common Good" (his outfit's name makes it clear they are trying to manipulate people by using a name similar to a longstanding reform group Ralph Nader's Common Cause). Anyway, referring to a ridiculous piece he helped Newsweek fabricate, this man asserts that "Americans like to sue each other at the slightest provocation." It's a totally false and stupid statement but it is one that so-called "tort reform" groups like to say even though all evidence shows that lawsuits by individuals are down and lawsuit-growth is in Corporate America - Business vs. Business lawsuits.

Center for Justice & Democracy released a very good rebuttal to Newsweek's story on lawsuits.

Lawyers nationally have also proved that the facts have been manipulated in Look behind the lawsuit spin.

Lastly, Newsweek did eventually publish a rebuttal.

Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Car accidents in Wisconsin are a common occurrence from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day. As your families prepare to drive our Wisconsin highways and roads, be sure to take steps to avoid a Wisconsin car accident. Drive your car, truck, SUV or minivan the legal speed limit, drive through intersections carefully, wear seatbelts and be sure all passengers are properly secured this holiday season. Whether it is driver distraction, speeding, or drunk driving car accidents in Wisconsin and related injuries are preventable.

Wisconsin car accidents are an especially serious risk of injury to our youth, according to a recent study by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Wisconsin's study shows that "more than 22,000 young people under the age of 15 are at risk of injury or death as occupants in vehicles involved in crashes." See Thousands of Wisconsin children at risk in crashes. Per that DOT study, in Wisconsin car accidents as many as 10% of the "children still riding in passenger vehicles with no safety protection whatsoever." See also Wisconsin car accidents: protect children

Wisconsin car crash deaths are also too frequent in 2003, according to a previous report from the Wisconsin DOT, Traffic fatality pace sustained in October. That study revealed that in October 2003, there had been 71 deaths in Wisconsin car crashes. Further, the same Wisconsin report shows that "[t[hrough the first 10 months of 2003, crashes in Wisconsin killed 711 people." Such deaths involved Wisconsin bus crash and truck accidents as well as Wisconsin rollover accidents. Please take extra so that neither you nor a family member cause a wrongful death in Wisconsin this 2003 holiday season.

Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Wisconsin personal injury lawyers and those who are truly "Free Market" capitalists should find themselves on the same side argues Michael Collins of CBS Marketwatch in his article The free market versus tort reform.

Collins reasonably points out how there are no good reasons for government to regulate damages in personal injury and medical malpractice cases. Collins asks several excellent questions: "If it's wrong for government to limit the prices pharmaceutical companies can charge for drugs, and the amount doctors charge for treatment, why would it be right to limit the amount of damages a harmed patient can be awarded in a lawsuit? If you believe it's too hard for doctors to get malpractice insurance, why is it the consumer's fault, rather than the insurance industry or the medical system? If you believe the government shouldn't tell a company how to do its business, or how much it can pay its executives, why would you support a limit on how much lawyers can make suing those businesses on behalf of defrauded consumers or investors?"

But this Wisconsin personal injury lawyer doesn't want to steal Collins' thunder. It's a great article. Go read it.

Wisconsin Personal Injury Lawyer

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Abbyland Meats in Wisconsin is recalling beef effective October 31, 2003, which is apparently contaiminated with the ecoli bacteria. Abbyland Meats is recalling the beef because E.coli can cause extremely serious injuries and even death especially in small children and senior citizens. If you think you may have received E. coli contaminated beef from Abbyland Meats in Wisconsin see my web page at Ecoli recall of meat in Wisconsin.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

It's almost Halloween and that means children will be trick-or-treating in your neighborhood. Because kids tend to focus on the excitement of Halloween and forget about safety, it's up to us parents, care givers and motorists to take special care so that these little boys and girls have a safe and happy holiday, and aren't "haunted" by unnecessary injuries. The following traffic safety tips will help to ensure that your kids' Halloween is the best ever.

Wisconsin Drivers
- Stay alert. Neighborhoods that don't normally have a lot of pedestrian and bicycle traffic may experience an increase on Halloween night.
- Remember that kids will be excited, and may be trying to visit as many houses as possible within a specific time frame. Trick-or-treaters may suddenly dart into traffic from between parked cars.
- Be particularly cautious in areas where cars are parked along the side of the street.
- Watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks in the neighborhood.
- Be patient and SLOW DOWN. Give children lots of time to cross the street. Their costumes may impair their ability to see and hear you, and to get out of your way quickly.
- Remember that kids will be excited and may forget to "stop, look, and listen" before they cross the street.

Wisconsin Parents and Caregivers
- Purchase or make costumes that are light colored and clearly visible to motorists.
- Decorate (and get the kids to help!) or trim costumes, "goody bags," and other containers with reflective tape that will glow in the beam of a car's headlights.
- Reflective tape can be purchased at bicycle, hardware, and sporting goods stores.
- Make sure costumes are short enough so they don't cause children to trip or fall.
- Children should wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes.
- Masks should not impair a child's hearing or field of vision. If necessary, enlarge ear and eye holes, or use makeup to create special effects. Tie hats and scarves securely to prevent them from slipping over children's eyes.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Personal injury lawyers are sometimes their own worst enemies. Unfortunately, some attorneys' zealousness appears to be foolishness, which reflects poorly on other personal injury lawyers unfairly punishing their clients.

Google News Search "NFL lawsuit" and you should see what I mean. The lawyer filing the case apparently likes publicity because in my humble opinion that's all that stands to likely be gained by a recent lawsuit the attorney filed. Sadly, the case involves a tragedy in which a girl was paralyzed in a car accident caused by a drunk driver who had been at a N.Y. Giants NFL football game. The lawsuit claims that the NFL should be held responsible for the girl's injuries. Newsday's article on the lawsuit states that the lawyer filing the case (for the second time) contends the NFL promotes the type of behavior that led the drunk driver to drink 14 beers at the game in 1999 and then drive home. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I would think that a lawsuit against the beer brewer might make more sense then this one.

Under the logic of the case filed, defendants to the suit should also include every television and radio station, magazine, newspaper and other media outlet that ever showed a beer drinking ad. And perhaps all the advertising agencies that created such ads. Maybe even the municipalities licensing the sale of alcohol, and the United States itself for repealing prohibition. In my opinion, personal injury attorneys should not file this type of case. This lawyer should have just done what was done in December 2002 when this same attorney did not file suit in the infamous Barney's X-Rated Surprise: Children Find Porn In Book incident.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Wisconsin Law Journal recently interviewed me for a story on lawyers Blogs and Blogging. I'll let you know when in comes out. Personally, I don't think most attorneys in Wisconsin care about Blogging or want to Blog, which is understandable. I was curious though as to what inspired the article so I googled my site and found an Internet marketing and networking firm for lawyers talking about Wisconsin Personal Injury Lawyers Blog in Why Do Search Engines Like Blogs?. Strangely, I next found three blogs strikingly similar to mine all by the same lawyer, Robert Unterberger. Those were Pennsylvania Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, Delaware Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, and New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyers Blog. Certainly, imitation is the highest form of flattery, but I guess Blogging wasn't for him since it only lasted a month.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Wisconsin Workers Compensation claims often involve Wisconsin personal injury claims and vice versa. Thus, I frequently refer clients to Wisconsin worker's compensation lawyers and Wisconsin attorneys handling such employee injury claims. For that reason, I created a Wisconsin Workers Compensation page at my web site.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Washington Post has a medical malpractice article: What Crisis? GAO: Malpractice Premium Spikes Don't Force Out Docs . The last two paragraphs state:

"Nationally, studies have found that doctors and hospitals win about 70 percent of cases that make it to a courtroom. Multimillion-dollar awards by juries are often bigger than the amount actually paid by an insurance company or doctor; these awards can be reduced by a judge, overturned on appeal or, more commonly, are the subject of negotiations between lawyers for both sides that dramatically reduce the amount a victim receives.

"What's often lost in this discussion is that there is much more malpractice than there are malpractice suits," Napoli noted. A 1991 study by Harvard University researchers, still regarded as the most influential of its kind, found that acts of medical negligence are eight to 10 times more common than malpractice lawsuits."

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Wisconsin Insurers Keep Jacking Up Premiums

Health costs slam firms again: Area companies to pay 23% more in premiums, try to share increase. Only 12 days ago, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel printed Is he overpaid? about Aurora Health Care’s three executives making $4,5000,000. And, insurance companies, like Humana Insurance (see July 28th), continue reporting sharply higher earnings due to double digit premium increases.

Wisconsin has some of the lowest medical malpractice insurance rates in America, but still has high health insurance costs. A 2003 study by the American Medical Society reports Wisconsin has the 6th lowest medical malpractice insurance premiums for physicians in the U.S. Wisconsin's Business Climate from Wisconsin Dept. of Commerce. Thus, despite claims of "tort reformers" spiraling health care costs have nothing to do with malpractice premiums. See the Des Moines Register article Don't blame malpractice suits: Reforming health care takes a lot more than caps on liability awards.

All evidence is there is no correlation between jury verdicts and health care insurance. Yet, insurers want to talk about "trial lawyers" and "tort reform" to defer the truth and by helping these insurers, certain politicians get paid off with donations from the industries profiting, Insurance, Health Care Professionals and Pharmaceutical & Health Products.

Friday, September 12, 2003

Walgreens pharmacies misfilled prescriptions are mentioned 8-15-03 and discussed at my firm site Walgreens misfills prescriptions. I was contacted recently by an investigator in Albuquerque, New Mexico investigating Walgreens methods for pharmacists tracking and filling prescriptions. Curious, I googled and found this article Injured Boy's Family Blames Walgreens: Associated Press, discussing the lawsuit of a brain-damaged boy who negligently received methadone instead of the anti-hyperactivity drug Ritalin a/k/a Methylphenidate.

See how the error happened - methadone, methylphenidate - its pharmacist or technician royally screwed up. And it isn't the first time for Walgreens. One of the cases I had was very similar!

Monday, September 01, 2003

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Sunday printed Is he overpaid?

Perhaps, rather than focusing on “tort reform” to reduce health care costs, politicians should focus on “capping” the compensation paid to CEOs and executives at corporations selling insurance and health care.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Friday, August 15, 2003

Walgreens misfills prescriptions and this not only causes problems for Walgreens but for individuals injured as a result of prescription filling errors. Pharmacies and pharmacists elsewhere have had some similar problems, but as far as I am aware they don't try to cover up the extent of the problem. Yesterday, I was called by a personal injury lawyer helping someone who badly harmed as a result of Walgreens pharmacy errors and I could not help much because a court order prevents me from releasing what I learned.

Monday, August 04, 2003

Lawyers make all the money - at least according to a family friend of ours. Since I believe that too many people think this way, I thought I would share some statistics.

Attorneys are not even in the Top 10 for annual income earned according to the Complete list of "Best Jobs Lists" from the Best Jobs for the 21st Century, Third Edition. Who are the TOP 10 wage earners?

"1. Anesthesiologists greater than $145,600
2. Internists, General greater than $145,600
3. Obstetricians and Gynecologists greater than $145,600
4. Surgeons greater than $145,600
5. Psychiatrists $126,460
6. Pediatricians, General $126,430
7. Chief Executives $120,450
8. Government Service Executives $120,450
9. Private Sector Executives $120,450
10. Family and General Practitioners $118,390"
From The 100 Best-Paying Jobs.

Attorneys earn $88,760, nationally. Wisconsin Lawyer magazine's December 2001 survey of Wisconsin attorneys revealed that Wisconsin lawyers average income was $79,000.

If you need more proof, check out Forbes 20th annual ranking of the 400 richest Americans. I didn't have time to review all of the 400 people listed, but here are Forbes categories:

Hotel & Casino Operators
Food & Agricultural Barons
Technology Tycoons
Venture Capitalists & Investors
Money Managers & Bankers
Real Estate Moguls
Entertainers And Media Moguls
Health Care Providers
Satellites, Cell Phones And Fiber Bosses
Retailers
Fashion Designers
Manufacturers and
Oil Executives

Lawyers notably are not listed.

Monday, July 28, 2003

Humana Inc. isn't a liability insurer like Allstate and AIG (see below), but it too is making great profits on the back of Americans, including all taxpayers, who pay government employees' health insurance, and businesses, including sole proprietor's, partnerships and corporations, who pay for their employees' health insurance. Humana reported sharply higher earnings today thanks to double digit premium increases and gains in its commercial businesses. In fact, income was "up 53 percent." Remember, whether you are an employer or an employee, Republican or Democrat, outrageous health insurance premiums effect all of us.

Again, I wonder how it is that lawyers are so often presented as the scourge of the American entrepreneur. INSURANCE REFORM would certainly save American businesses a lot more than tort deform.

Friday, July 25, 2003

Insurance companies NEVER cease to amaze me. Last week Allstate showed how it's making boatloads on your backs by raising those insurance premiums.

And today's insurer of the day is AIG. I complained previously about AIG CEO Maurice "Hank" Greenberg because he tries to blame evil "trial lawyers" for every problem AIG has while he makes insane amounts of money. In Hank Greenberg on The Forbes Four Hundred Richest in America, the article describes Greenberg's obscene wealth of $4,400,000,000.00 - that's FOUR-BILLION-FOUR-HUNDRED-MILLION-DOLLARS.

Don't worry, things are getting even better for Hank Greenberg at the American entrepreneur's expense, Rising business insurance costs boost AIG profits.

Greenberg calls for "tort reform" (taking your legal rights & limiting what you can recover - so he can make more money) while telling sole proprietor's, partnerships and corporations how he's going to raise business insurance rates even more. See AIG Chairman Sees Rates Rising Into 2004. Forget tort reform, call for insurance reform. "Earnings were fueled by price hikes in insurance premiums to businesses."

Interestingly, Maurice Greenberg - WHILE SUING HIS SON's COMPANY - has brought to light one of many insurance company abuses. In "Ace in the Hole," Forbes explains how AIG accuses: Ace Insurance "and a predecessor company of trying to dodge billions of dollars in asbestos claims by moving thousands of insurance policies out of its Insurance Co. of North America subsidiary into a tiny, underfunded rump company called Century Indemnity. AIG calls this 'a shell game.'"

So let's see, an insurer tried to shortchange asbestos and mesothelioma victims...

...never happens?

Monday, July 21, 2003

Personal injury cases typically involved insurance companies. One insurer I have always disliked is Allstate. Here's another reason to dislike Allstate. ALLSTATE PROFIT SOARS ON RATE INCREASES.

Allstate's profits were up 71%! Isn't it interesting how when these insurers announce profits they never cite "reduced tort costs" or "reduced personal injury claims" or "lower lawsuit filings"? See my February 7, 2003 post.

Whether it's homeowners insurance, medical malpractice insurance, car insurance or whatever, the fact is insurers try stick it to the people who pay the premiums, to those who get hurt, and those who help them, like me, in order to make more money. This is exactly why these companies constantly call on lawmakers to limit recoverable damages, fees, etc. Whatever happened to the "FREE MARKET"? And, if we must legislate in this area, then I propose lawmakers pass accross the board INSURANCE RATE CUTS?

If lawmakers really want to help accident victims, then they should pass a law prohibiting subrogation in all personal injury actions. This is where your health insurer, car insurer, disability insurer or worker's compensation insurer takes money from your personal injury settlement. This results often in the insurer taking 30%-50% of a personal injury settlement from the injured party. In other words, you pay your premium for health insurance, car insurance or whatever, and that same insurer gets to be paid again, but this time from the injurying party's insurance company taking a portion of the injured person's settlement proceeds.

Friday, July 18, 2003

NHTSA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, recently released data regarding car accident deaths in 2002. The information shows a very serious safety problem that needs attention. Deaths on our highways have reached the highest level in a dozen years and tragically, rollover car accidents and crashes caused 82% of this increase. Car manufactures must protect car drivers and passengers from death and serious injuries in rollover accidents by making cars crashworthy.

A recent press release from Public Citizen discusses this, NHTSA’s 2002 Highway Fatality Statistics Confirm Pressing Need for Safety Improvements Contained in Senate Legislation.



Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Wisconsin personal injury lawyers and other personal injury attorneys were recently encouraged by the following news Yahoo News: Senate Kills Malpractice Limit Proposal.

Two Republicans along with the Democrats were instrumental in this - encouraging news for an Independent, like me. The two courageous and wise Republican Senators were Senator Richard C. Shelby of Alabama and Senator Lindsey O. Graham of South Carolina.

For those who need proof that these Senators did the right thing, look no further than the American Academy of Family Physicians recent publication Seven Reasons Family Doctors Get Sued and How to Reduce Your Risk. The physicians' publication has table entitled "MYTHS ABOUT MALPRACTICE," which states in part:

"This is a new problem.
The first malpractice case recorded in the United States was Cross v Guthery, a 1794 Connecticut case in which a man sued his doctor over his wife's death following surgery. Since only appeals court decisions are usually recorded, the first malpractice case may well have occurred before the founding of the country. Historical accounts from the Civil War era document instances of surgeons refusing to do certain procedures because of concerns about being sued."

"It's about money.
Many doctors believe that patients sue primarily because of money, but for the vast majority of patients, money is not the primary motivation. Instead, patients often sue because they want to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future, want an honest and clear explanation as to how and why the injury occurred and want the staff or organization to be accountable for their actions."

"The number of lawyers is the root of the problem.
The number of lawyers in an area does not predict the number of medical malpractice lawsuits. It is the number of doctors that predicts the number of suits."

"Lawyers decide the standard of care.
In every jurisdiction, a lawyer is able to file a medical malpractice suit only with a statement from an expert that negligence occurred. That expert has to be a physician."

"Frivolous suits are the root of the problem.
A General Accounting Office report showed that less than 10 percent of the time does the plaintiff have an injury that would be regarded as "insignificant."3 In the majority of cases, plaintiffs have serious problems that no one would want for themselves or their loved ones. Whether the bad outcome was the result of doctors' negligence may be debatable, but medical malpractice suits for frivolous reasons are uncommon."

"There is nothing one doctor can do.
Perhaps the most powerful predictor of the likelihood of being sued is how well the doctor relates to patients. The more honest and empathetic a doctor is, the lower the likelihood of suit."

"Judges and juries favor plaintiffs.
In fact, judges and juries generally favor doctors. In 2000, defendants won 62 percent of all medical malpractice cases brought before a jury."

"All tort reform is good.
Some kinds of tort reform have proven effective, such as California's 1975 Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA); others have not and, in fact, may make things worse."

Saturday, June 28, 2003

The New England Journal of Medicine has published a study, The Quality of Health Care Delivered to Adults in the United States, looking at the quality of health care delivered in the United States. The RAND study revealed that only about 50% of the time did patients receive the level of properly recommended care. Further, the negligent level of care was found to pose serious threats to the health of the American public.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Friday, June 13, 2003

More CPSC Recalls:

Trisonic/Eastern America Trio Products, of Flushing, N.Y., is voluntarily recalling about 12,000 Nightlights. The nightlight poses a serious electrocution, electric shock, burn and fire hazard to consumers.

Weather Works Inc., of Miami, Fla., is voluntarily recalling about 2,400 Electric Heaters. The electric heater can overheat internal plastic components and damage the wiring, posing a fire and electrocution hazard to consumers.

Trivett Industries, Inc. of Deland, Fla., is voluntarily recalling about 590 Pancake Express Pancake Makers. The handles on the pancake makers are unable to withstand the heat of the device, causing the handle to fail to provide support because of melting or breaking.

Creative Kids Inc. of Monsey, N.Y., is voluntarily recalling about 1,400 Children's Art Supply Sets. The sets contain mini-cutters with razor blades which pose a laceration hazard to young children.

Babi Italia, a division of LaJobi Industries Inc., of Edison, N.J., is voluntarily recalling to replace crib drop-side rails for about 2,000 "Tiffany" and "Josephine" model cribs. The slats on the drop-side rails can come loose or detach. A child's head can get caught in the space left by loose or missing slats, presenting an entrapment hazard. In addition, children can fall through the slat opening.

Saturday, May 24, 2003

Wisconsin Memorial Day Weekend Roadtrips
Wisconsin lawyers and Wisconsin families often take summertime vacations and the tires on our cars are absolutely critical to a safe trip especially in warm weather because long trips, heavy loads, higher speeds and higher temperatures all put additional stress on tires. Here is what you should do:

- Check your tires regularly to be sure there are no visible signs of wear, damage, bulges, or tread separation.

- Be sure your tires are properly inflated. Check your tire pressure often--with an accurate gauge - for routine driving and before and during any long trips. Measure the tire when the tires are cold, before you drive on them. The recommended inflation pressure can be found in your owner's manual or on a label frequently found in the glove box, near the door latch on the driver's side, or other locations on your vehicle. The recommended inflation pressure is not to be confused with the maximum inflation pressure that is shown on the side of the tire. At the recommended inflation pressure, tires will last longer and be less likely to fail, and the car will use less fuel. Serious injury can result from tire failure because of under inflation or overloading.

- Never overload your vehicle. Your car and tires are designed to operate safely only up to their load limits. These limits are shown in your owner's manual and on the certification plate on the edge of the driver's door.

- Make sure there is enough tread on the tire to operate safely and the tires are wearing normally. All grooves should be visible and deep enough to at least touch the top of Lincoln's head on a penny inserted head first in the tread. Low tread or bald tires are unsafe and need to be replaced.

- If some spots on the tire seem to be wearing faster than others, see your tire dealer, service station or mechanic. You could have misaligned wheels, worn shock absorbers, or other potential problems. Make sure your tires are aligned and balanced properly.

- Don't drive at a high rate of speed for a long time, particularly in hot weather. Obey posted speed limits. Lower speeds also mean better gas mileage.

- Make sure that every person in every vehicle is properly restrained in a seat belt or child safety seat on every trip - before you turn the key in the ignition.

Monday, May 19, 2003

Recent recalls:

Swimways Corp. Announce Recall of Pool Dive Sticks
Swimways Corp., of Virginia Beach, Va., is voluntarily recalling about 25,000 packages of dive sticks (each package contains four dive sticks), which fail to meet the commission’s safety requirements. Children can fall or land on these dive sticks in shallow water and may suffer impalement injuries.

Weil-McLain Announce Recall of Ultra 155 & 230 Gas Boilers
Weil-McLain Company of Michigan City, Ind. is voluntarily recalling about 1,700 Gas Boilers. The gas valve mounting screws on the recalled boilers may have not been fully tightened during the assembly process and may have come loose in transportation. Weil-McLain is concerned that loose gas fittings could result in leaking gas, fire and/or explosions that could cause bodily injuries or property damage.

Homelite Announce Recall of Chainsaws
Homelite Consumer Products, Inc., of Anderson, S.C. is voluntarily recalling about 6,900 chainsaws. These saws can operate while the engine is at the "idle" setting, posing a risk of serious lacerations to the operator and bystanders.

Wal-Mart Announce Recall of Fabric Lanterns
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., of Bentonville, Ark. is voluntarily recalling about 64,000 fabric lanterns. The fabric is not flame retardant and can be ignited by the lantern's votive candle, posing a fire hazard.

Amen Wardy Home Announce Recall of Multi-purpose Lighters Shaped Like Matchsticks
Amen Wardy Home, of Las Vegas, Nev., is voluntarily recalling about 2,400 multi-purpose lighters shaped like matchsticks. The lighters lack child-resistant mechanisms that meet federal safety standards. Young children could operate these lighters, which poses a fire hazard.

Baby's Dream Furniture Inc. Announce Recall to Repair Cribs
Baby's Dream Furniture Inc., of Buena Vista, Ga., is voluntarily recalling about 4,600 wooden convertible cribs manufactured from January to August 2001 to repair hinges on the drop gate. The three hinges along the fold-down drop gate can crack or break and allow babies to have their fingers pinched. Baby's Dream has received 38 reports of broken or cracked hinges, but there have been no injuries reported.

DCD Incorporated Announce Recall of Exercisers
DCD Incorporated of Malibu, Calif., is voluntarily recalling about 9,500 Ab Swing exercise units. The Ab Swing is a manual exercise unit, primarily intended for abdominal exercise. It is gray steel, with red seat and handlebars with black grips. The Ab Swing weighs approximately 18 pounds, and sits about 2 feet off the ground. The word "abswing" is printed on the front of the seat and the phrase "Made in Malaysia" is printed on a tag on the back of the seat. Units that contain the phrase "Made in China" are not included in this recall. Home Shopping Network (HSN) sold the exercise units in September 2002 for about $89.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Oreo lawsuit
Lawyers wonder why we are the fodder for talk radio hosts? Well wonder no longer, now there is an Oreo lawsuit claiming that Orea cookies are fatening. Now before you "too many lawsuits" people go nuts, remember Civics where you learned that anyone can file a lawsuit for any reason just like anyone can vote and it is up to the courts to sort things out, which they typically do well. Also of note, the so-called McDonald's lawsuit regarding burgers and fries causing obesity was thrown out this year.

Monday, May 05, 2003

Wisconsin Products Liability
Wisconsin personal injury lawyers often tragically discover that Wisconsin families are unaware of the hazardous nature of products in their homes. The following is a list of such products that Wisconsin residents should remove or fix immediately:

Old Power Tools that present an electrocution hazard. In a recent year, there were approximately 15 electrocution deaths associated with old power tools. Old electric power tools (made before the 1980s) may not have modern safety features to prevent electrocution. For example, old power tools were made with metal housings, while newer tools are made with plastic housings to provide double-insulation against electric shock. Old power tools also may not have proper grounding or may have frayed wires or other hazards. Discard old power tools. Do not give them to thrift stores or sell them at a yard sale.

Old Extension Cords that present a fire or shock hazard. Old extension cords, power strips and surge protectors may have undersized wires, loose connections, faulty components or improper grounding. Old extension cords may fail to meet current safety standards and can be overloaded easily. In a recent year, electrical cords and plugs were involved in about 5,200 fires resulting in 40 deaths. Look for cords with the label from an independent testing lab such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories) or ETL. Use cords that have polarized plugs or grounded three-pronged plugs to reduce the risk of shock. Don't overload cords with too many appliances.

Window blind cords with loops loops that can strangle children. Window blinds may have pull cords that end in a loop or inner cords that can form a loop if pulled by children. Both can cause strangulation. CPSC knows of about 160 strangulation deaths to children in looped window covering cords since 1991. In 1994, CPSC worked with industry to provide a repair for old window blinds to eliminate the loops on the end of pull cords and to eliminate that looped cord on new blinds. In 2000, CPSC worked with industry to repair old blinds so that the inner cord can't form a loop if pulled by a young child. The industry also redesigned new blinds to address this hazard. Old window blinds with looped pull cords and inner cords that can be pulled to form a loop must be repaired. There are about 85 million units sold each year. The Window Covering Safety Council offers free repair kits that include small plastic attachments to prevent the inner cords from being pulled loose, and safety tassels for pre-1995 window blinds with outer pull cords ending in loops. Consumers should cut the loops and install a safety tassel at the end of each pull cord. Consumers who have vertical blinds, draperies or pleated shades with continuous loop cords should request special tie-downs to prevent strangulation in those window coverings. Call the Council at (800) 506-4636 or go to their web site: www.windowcoverings.org

Halogen torchiere floor lamps that can cause fires when combustibles such as drapes come too close to the bulb. These lamps need a wire or glass guard and a bulb that is 300 watts or less to help reduce the fire risk. More than 40 million halogen floor lamps made before 1997 by numerous firms were recalled because they have no guard to protect against fire. CPSC knows of 290 fires and 25 deaths since 1992 related to halogen torchiere floor lamps. People can get the free wire guards by sending a postcard to Catalina Lighting Consumer Services, 18191 NW 68th Avenue, Miami, FL 33015.

Old cribs made before CPSC and industry safety standards can entrap, strangle, or suffocate children. Old cribs with more than 2-3/8 inches between crib slats; corner posts; or cut-outs on the headboard or footboard present suffocation and strangulation hazards. Cribs with missing or broken parts or cornerposts higher than 1/16 inch also present a risk of death. CPSC estimates there are about 30 deaths per year in cribs, many of which are older, used models. Destroy old cribs and those with missing or broken parts or cornerposts higher than 1/16 inch. Use only those cribs that meet current safety standards.

Cadet Heaters that could cause a fire. CPSC is aware of more than 320 reports of Cadet and Encore heaters (models FW, FX, LX, TK, Z, ZA, RA, RK, RLX, RX, RW, and ZC) that smoked, sparked, caught fire, emitted flames, or ejected burning particles or molten materials. These incidents have allegedly resulted in four deaths, two serious burn injuries and property damage claims exceeding $4.3 million. Due to Cadet's bankruptcy, the opportunity to obtain discounted heaters expired on February 17, 2002. CPSC strongly urges consumers to stop using these 1.9 million recalled Cadet and Encore heaters and replace them. In addition, some RM and ZM model heaters sold separately or provided as replacements for some of the previously recalled heaters can overheat and cause a fire. Cadet will arrange for a free service call for affected RM and ZM heaters. The Cadet recall hotline is 800-567-2613 and the Web site is Cadetco Cadet Heaters Recall

Hairdryers without immersion protection devices to prevent electrocution. Since the early 1990s, hairdryers have had built-in shock protection devices to prevent electrocution if they fall into water. However, electrocutions from old hairdryers are still occasionally reported. Replace the old hairdryer with a new one with a large rectangular plug and the mark of a recognized testing laboratory.

Disposable and novelty lighters that are not child-resistant. CPSC set a standard (effective in 1994) requiring disposable and novelty lighters to be child-resistant. Since the standard took effect, there has been a 58 percent reduction in fires caused by children under age 5, representing the prevention of hundreds of deaths and injuries and thousands of fires. However, in a recent year there were still 2,400 fires resulting in 70 deaths and 480 injuries because of children under age 5 playing with lighters. Keep all cigarette lighters away from children and make sure all of your lighters are child-resistant.

Drawstrings around the neck on children's jackets and sweatshirts can catch and strangle children. In 1995, CPSC worked with industry to eliminate hood and neck drawstrings on kids' jackets and sweatshirts. CPSC knows of 23 deaths and 56 non-fatal incidents from January 1985 through November 2000. Pull out or cut all neck drawstrings on children's jackets and sweatshirts. Do not sell them at garage sales or give them to thrift stores. In 1998, CPSC found that many thrift stores were selling recalled, hazardous products, including children's jackets with drawstrings.

Monday, April 21, 2003

Wisconsin Medical Malpractice
Milwaukee's WISN Radio - AM 1130 reported today that "Low malpractice insurance rates attract physicians to Wisconsin." In an article posted on its website, the Milwaukee Wisconsin radio station reports that physicians are being drawn to Wisconsin by the state's "low medical malpractice insurance rates." The American Medical Society identifies Wisconsin as a "safe haven for physicians." In fact, as a result of the lack of any substantial Wisconsin medical malpractice damage awards, the doctors Wisconsin Patient Compensation Fund has bloated to more than $600,000,000.00.

In a separate story, the April 21, 2003 issue of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports on similar news in Doctors drawn to Wisconsin: State's relatively affordable malpractice insurance is just what they ordered. In that story, the Milwaukee newspaper reports how "Physicians across the country are pulling up stakes and heading for Wisconsin's greener pastures to avoid paying staggering medical malpractice insurance premiums." One Gastroenterologist and his wife, a surgeon, moved to Wisconsin from Cleveland. In another example, an orthopedic surgeon moving to Green Bay Wisconsin to join an Aurora Health Care medical center.


Monday, April 14, 2003

Well, it appears that the the Judge in the Altria f/k/a Philip Morris case is already backing off the multi-billion dollar verdict he rendered (remember no jury here) and now is "only" requiring it to post $6,000,000,000.00 bond for its appeal. Watch for the Court of Appeals to reduce or reverse the verdict. Best case for the lawyers handling this is a settlement. Worst case, the verdict is completely overturned. Then again, I'm just a Wisconsin personal injury attorney.

Personal injury lawyers looking for case management call me, I am now a reference for Legal Software Systems Corporation's Pitslaw. Use my "Referring Attorney Number" of 1024691 when signing up for the free trial offer.

Wisconsin Personal Injury Lawyer

Friday, April 11, 2003

As a Wisconsin personal injury lawyer, I have certainly had the opportunity to meet arrogant Wisconsin doctors and Wisconsin attorneys, but I have yet to meet a physician or lawyer in Wisconsin as arrogant as Dr. Harry J. Metropol of Columbia, South Carolina.

Dr. Metropol, while testifying before a legislative committee contemplating tort deform, actually testified that a Wisconsin woman is bettor off as the result of medical negligence that resulted in her losing her breasts. A South Carolina newspaper article discusses the doctor's comments, Surgeon's remarks shock legislators, and quotes the surgeon as having testified:

"She did not lose her life, and with the plastic surgery, she'll have breast reconstruction better than she had before." "It won't be National Geographic, hanging to her knees. It'll be nice, firm breasts."

The physician was, of course, testifying in favor of damage caps on medical malpractice cases. One Republican State Representative stated "A lot of people were shocked" and another said the "comments were callous."

Wisconsin medical malpratice cases have damage caps.

Monday, April 07, 2003

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a horrible opinion on April 7, 2003. The Court apparently has no understanding of the purpose of punitive damages, which are meant to meaningfully punish a wrongdoer. In the case, STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE CO. v. CAMPBELL et al., State Farm negligently defended its own insured, Mr. & Mrs. Campbell, failing to settle a case against them, and instead contesting liability exposing the Campbells to an excess judgment. A Utah jury found State Farm liable to the Campbells for bad faith, fraud, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Evidence showed that State Farm had similar out-of-state conduct. The jury awarded the Campbells $2.6 million in compensatory damages and $145 million in punitive damages, which the trial court reduced to $1 million and $25 million respectively. Applying Gore, the Utah Supreme Court reinstated the $145 million punitive damages award. Then, in its "wisdom" the U.S. Supreme Court took away all punitive damages awarded with Justices Scalia, Thomas and Ginsburg dissenting.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Since trial in Illinois that resulted in a County Circuit Court Judge awarding $10.1 billion in damages against Altria Group (NYSE: MO), formerly known as Phillip Morris, the stock of that company has been destroyed. One thing I have noted as a personal injury attorney in Wisconsin is that often times people do not understand that companies do not have to pay those awards immediately and that frequently huge awards like this are reveresed or lowered quite substantially on appeal. For example, in the infamous McDonald's personal injury case (note the Illinois case is not a personal injury case), the appeals court ended up reducing the award to about 10% of the original award. And so, my advice in these situations is not to allow one case to completely change your investment strategies.

As I said before, I'm just a Wisconsin personal injury attorney, but in my humble opinion, the damages awarded will be reduced or reversed entirely - if the case does not settle which is very possible. Public pressure does get to judges, who are politicians, and to legislatures, and in Illinois there have already been a lot of financial difficulties and layoffs. Kraft, an Altria subsidiary, is in fact based in my hometown of Glenview, Illinois.

Friday, March 28, 2003

Back on Friday, January 03, 2003, I posted about Senator Bill Frist. He's not from Wisconsin and not a Wisconsin personal injury lawyer, but he's a man that Wisconsin medical patients may soon know about if they are ever injured by a Wisconsin doctor's negligence or by a dangerous medical device or now by a vaccine causing wrongful death or brain damage to a child.

You may recall that Bill Frist is the Tennessee Senator heart surgeon presently in charge of Senate Republicans. Frist is quickly becoming the Darth Vader of PATIENTS' rights and the political pawn of the pharmaceutical/medical industries. His most recent escapade is thoroughly documented in the Tuesday, March 25, 2003 post at Wampum, which has earned itself a link to this Blog as a result of the author's outstanding advocacy on behalf of patients and Autism.

Anyone who has their children vaccinated, which includes myself with three young ones under 8, better take a look at that Tuesday, March 25, 2003 post at Wampum and take action. It should be obvious now to all advocates of patients' rights, Wisconsin attorneys and personal injury attorneys everywhere that Frist is going to do everything in his power to pay back ("PAY FOR PLAY") the hundreds of millions of dollars he took from the pharmaceutical/medical industries. With this newest bill and the medical malpractice bill he's working to ram through Congress, he certainly doesn't care one bit about medical patients and their ability to obtain justice if they fall prey to physician negligence, hazardous products, dangerous medical devices, or vaccines causing wrongful death or brain damage to children.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

March 21, 2002, an Illinois Circuit Court Judge (NO JURY involved) awarded $10.1 billion in damages against Altria Group, formerly known as Phillip Morris. It was not a personal injury case or even a products liability or strict liability case. Rather, it was a civil fraud case. The corporate insurance defense lawyers spin described the case as dealing with "a group of smokers who claim no injury, smoked cigarettes that were always labeled with government health warnings and continue to purchase Marlboro Lights despite the claims in the case." See Phillip Morris' Press Release. Whereas, the plaintiffs attorneys alleged that Phillip Morris violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act with regard to Marlboro "Lights" and the evidence was that Phillip Morris lied - big surprise - to the American public and Illinois residents in advertising claiming "light" cigarettes were safer than standard cigarettes.

Now I'm just a Wisconsin personal injury attorney, but in my humble opinion, the damages awarded will be reduced either by Illinois courts or the U.S. Supreme Court, more likely the former. Though it's only about 15% of what Phillip Morris is worth, $10,100,000,000.00 is an insane amount of money.

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Bayer Baycol found not responsible for 82-year old man's injury. March 18, 2003, Bayer (the aspirin company) dodged a bullet in the personal injury attorney world. Bad news for those personal injury attorneys handling that specific Corpus Christi, Texas case, Eric Weinberg, Mikal Watts, Dawn Barrios and Rickey Brantley, and good news for the corporate-gun-for-hire Philip S. Beck, Germany, and for shareholders of Bayer AG, which had been beaten up. Bayer was obviously elated since the plaintiffs sought $560M in damages, see AP's Bayer Ruled Not Liable in $560M Drug Suit.

Bayer issued a press release Bayer Pleased With Verdict in Corpus Christi, Texas Baycol Case. Bayer does not try to claim that Baycol and Bayer are now off the hook entirely for the Baycol injuries caused by Bayer's negligence. In fact, Bayer Baycol claims are often valid and my firm's Bayer Baycol FAQs, Bayer Baycol FDA Withdrawal, and Bayer Baycol Dear Doctor letter pages discuss some of these issues.

Monday, March 17, 2003

In the March 15, 2003 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, an article reports that a Wisconsin spine surgeon implanted an artificial disc in the neck of a man suffering pain related to a disc herniation. This is significant news for many of Wisconsin personal injury clients who suffer spinal injury due to car crashes and automobile accidents and other accidents like falls.

For this reason, I put a page on my Wisconsin attorney website entitled Wisconsin spine surgeon says artificial disc may replace spinal fusion and herniated disc surgery. If you, a family member or friend has spine injury problems, then you may want to take a look.

Friday, March 14, 2003

Tragically, the House voted 229 to 196 to take away the rights of patients harmed by medical negligence. Wisconsin consumers, Wisconsin lawyers and people every where need to call their Senators to stop this bill from becoming law. In Wisconsin, we all need to contact Senator Kohl and urge him to vote against this bill.

Washington Office, 330 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510, Phone: (202) 224-5653;
Milwaukee Office, 310 West Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 950, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53203, Phone: 1-800-247-5645 (toll free in Wisconsin);
Madison Office, 14 West Mifflin Street, Suite 207, Madison, Wisconsin 53703, Phone: (608) 264-5338;
Eau Claire Office, 402 Graham Avenue, Suite 206, Eau Claire, Wisconsin 54701, Phone: (715) 832-8424;
Appleton Office, 4321 West College Avenue, Suite 235, Appleton, Wisconsin 54914, Phone: (920) 738-1640;
LaCrosse Office, 425 State Street, Suite 202, LaCrosse, Wisconsin 54601, Phone: (608) 796-0045

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Congress is to vote on its medical malpractice bill this week. The law would harshly restrict patients' and health care consumers' ability to hold doctors, physicians, hospitals and health care providers responsible for negligence. It would unduly limit medical product manufacturers and sellers accountability. As a Wisconsin personal injury lawyer, I would not be doing any of my medical malpractice clients justice if I did not encourage you to call your Representative and urge them to vote NO on H.R. 5.

Point out the following: 1)The insurance industry has too much control over our health care system. 2)Until we reform the insurance industry, we won't be able to reduce malpractice premiums for doctors or, most important, assure access to care. 3)Caps don't lower health care costs. 4)Instead of helping the insurance industry by taking away people's rights, we need to take away the insurance industry's anti-trust exemption and enact insurance reform. The insurance industry shouldn't have more rights than patients. 5)Insurance companies are allowed to collude and fix prices. Let's make the insurance industry operate like other businesses in America and force insurers to provide honest and open accounting. 6)There is no medical malpractice insurance crisis in Wisconsin. In fact, the Medical Malpractice Fund is overflowing with money.

If you need MORE proof that tort reform is just an insurance company ploy see USA Today's March 5, 2003 report on an impressive six-week study that found that doctors "are minimally affected" by rising malpractice premiums and that malpractice insurance premiums aren't rising rapidly.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Wisconsin personal injury attorneys and Wisconsin lawyers know this, but an EXCELLENT article on the medical malpractice bill before Congress appears in the March 3, 2003 issue of Business Week Magazine. Even with a doctor has the Speaker of the House, one would think that the medical malpractice bill before Congress should fail due to all the independent evidence out there, see for example those posted throughout the archive here and at my firm home page Wisconsin personal injury attorney.

In any event, the article's author, Lorraine Woellert, reports that in 1975 physicians staged a ridiculous march on California's statehouse and claimed that outrageously high medical malpractice insurance was destroying their ability to practice medicine. Tragically, the politicians, influenced more by insurers and doctors money than the ridiculous rally, gave the special interest groups what they wanted with a law that limited any victim's recovery for pain, suffering, disability and disfigurement to a maximum on $250,000. Such caps were than enacted across the U.S., including in Wisconsin, which has had caps of all shapes and sizes and now limits such damages to $350,000, see Wisconsin medical malpractice law and Wisconsin wrongful death law. Again, premiums are spiking - for the same reason of course, a crummy stock market - and of course the doctors acting as the behest of the medical malpractice insurers are "striking" and staging more rallies. Keep in mind, the newspaper article cited 2/21/2003, showing that doctor's salaries average $199,600 with medical malpractice premiums being a decreasingly small percentage of that.

The article goes on the show that the FACTS show doctors and insurers are wrong and that the following are FALSE:
1) Medical malpractice insurance rates increase slower in states with limits on damages
2) Jury awards have compelled medical malpractice insurers to increase premiums
3) The prevalence of multi-million-dollar awards is increasing
4) Courts are plugged up with an increasingly large number of medical malpractice case

The fact is that damage caps are totally and completely arbitrary. Such caps are of the one size fits all category and have no place in a system that seeks to attain justice. Justice is not the same for everyone, Wisconsin personal injury attorneys know this and so do legislators, insurers and doctors.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Certainly, the night club tragedies in Chicago and Rhode Island and the horrible negligence of Duke's medical staff in giving a heart of the wrong blood type to a young transplant patient demonstrate the need for justice and a fair remedy in court. The injuries and deaths that took place were all quite preventable and this is the primary reason for tort law in the U.S. and Wisconsin. Unfortunately, the laws here in Wisconsin limit the wrongful death recovery of damages unfairly. Wisconsin law also unduly restricts the recovery of damages resulting from medical malpractice in Wisconsin. These laws should be changed so that in Wisconsin personal injury victims and families who remain after a wrongful death can obtain full damages and justice.

Wisconsin Personal Injury Lawyer

Friday, February 21, 2003

February 20, 2003, in an excellent editorial, the Des Moines Register confirms once again what Wisconsin personal injury attorneys and Wisconsin medical malpractice lawyers have known all along. In Don't blame malpractice suits: Reforming health care takes a lot more than caps on liability awards the editors explaing that it is false to assert that one of the "prime causes" of rising health-care costs is "the constant threat that physicians and hospitals will be unfairly sued." The editors further state that:

"The medical-malpractice premiums physicians pay are not as expensive as the public is being led to believe. In 1990, the average physician's salary was $164,300. The average malpractice premium was 8.8 percent of that salary. In 1997, the salary increased to $199,600, and the amount spent on malpractice premiums dropped to 7.1 percent of the salary. Insurance got less expensive in proportion to salary.

Between 1988 and 1998, total U.S. health-care costs increased 74.4 percent. The costs for medical malpractice increased a mere 5.7 percent during the same period."

Certainly, the editors are on track here! See my January 19, 2003 post regading the fact that managed care insurers forced customers into outrageous premium increases and that third-quarter earnings were up 47% on average for 11 major insurers and yet premiums are expected to rise an average of 15.4% this year.

The Des Moines Register editors then explain how the percentage of malpractice suits is dropping and the "number of malpractice claims per doctor dropped between 1998 and 2001."

The editors then conclude that "There's little evidence to support the idea that the threat of lawsuits is a major cause of the inflation in health-care costs. There's even less evidence that federal legislation capping damages in lawsuits will measurably affect those costs."

Friday, February 14, 2003

Wisconsin personal injury lawyers and Wisconsin attorneys know this, but another outstanding point made at the TomPain.com website - www.tompain.com is that the real target of all the lies and deception from malpractice insurers and doctors' strikes at their behest are the juries in malpractice cases and injury lawsuits in general. Its "Target Juries" states:

"Have you checked your auto, homeowners, or business insurance premiums lately? They’re way up. Why? Because insurance companies, which like to gamble in the stock and bond markets, have taken a drubbing. They’re trying to recoup by boosting premiums.
Insurers have jacked up medical malpractice insurance rates, too. Doctors are howling. In headline-grabbing strikes across the nation, they proclaim they can’t practice medicine without affordable insurance. True enough.
But instead of fingering the real culprits -- insurance companies -- doctors and the American Medical Association have joined insurers in blaming injured patients who file supposedly "frivolous" lawsuits and jurors they say are eager to make huge malpractice awards.
Their solution -- limiting the discretion of jurors by capping jury awards, so-called "tort reform" -- is as fraudulent as the manufactured crisis it’s supposed to address.
Donald J. Zuk, CEO of a major malpractice insurer, has said as much. Commenting on rising malpractice premiums, Zuk told The Wall Street Journal last year, "I don’t like to hear insurance-company executives say it’s the tort system -- it’s self-inflicted."
In fact, when malpractice premiums spiked in the 1980s, many states capped jury awards. That hasn’t held rates down. (California passed insurance reform in 1988 -- that worked.) And if discouraging "frivolous" lawsuits is the goal, why cap damages in successful suits, those that, by definition, are not frivolous?
The current insurance "crisis" is, in fact, just the latest push in a decades-long effort to pass "tort reform" -- a campaign by corporations, doctors and insurance companies to insulate themselves from legal accountability by tying jurors hands.
"The people pushing tort reform have used campaign contributions and lobbying to compromise elected officials and regulators," says one consumer advocate. "Juries are the last line of protection for consumers. Jurors don’t take campaign contributions. They can’t be lobbied. What tort reformers fear most is 12 people they can’t control.""


Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Wisconsin attorneys practicing medical malpractice, tort and wrongful death litigation may have perspectives different from those on a national level. I encourage you to get some thought provoking insights at TOMPAINE.com - A Public Interest Journal. One article there talk about how the current insurance crisis is just the latest push in a long effort to pass more and more tort deform so corporations, doctors and insurance companies can make more money insulating themselves from accountability and justice. Another explains how 30 states have tried tort, medical malpractice and wrongful death "reforms" and it hasn't held down malpractice or insurance premiums yet.

Wisconsin Personal Injury Lawyer

Friday, February 07, 2003

The headline reads "AIG Chairman Attributes Loss Spike to Tort Costs", and its a Dow Jones Article from Tuesday February 4, 2003. The huge insurer American International Group Inc. issued a financial release and of all things, AIG's chairman Hank Greenberg tries to blame "an out-of-control legal system and rising litigation costs." Mr. Greenberg ignores the fact that AIG's minor troubles relate to BAD INVESTMENTS and directors and officers insurance (See e.g. ENRON, WORLDCOM, ARTHUR ANDERSON, ETC.).

Greenberg also ignores the ridiculous sums of money he and his cronies have taken out of AIG in the form of compensation including stock options. See for example Motley Fool's "How Much Do AIG Execs Make?" or Business Week's "In the Shadow of AIG". According to Forbes magazine, Greenberg had income and stock options worth $ 90,000,000.00. See, Maurice R Greenberg

Worse than this though, he is #47 of Forbes 400 Richest Americans List with a TOTAL NET WORTH OF $ 3,900,000,000.00 That's Three-Billion-Nine-Hundred-Million Dollars.

I dare anyone to find me a personal injury lawyer in Wisconsin worth 1% of that. In fact, I would be shocked if the total net worth of all personal injury lawyers in Wisconsin combined added up to 1% of that. Greed that's all this tort deform garbage is about, CEOs donating huge sums of money to influence politicians so that the CEOs can make even more. That's all this Greenberg character wants is more money, more thant the $ 3,900,000,000.00 (Three-Billion-Nine-Hundred-Million Dollars) he all ready has. They'll try to make it about Wisconsin personal injury attorneys and personal injury attorneys elsewhere, but the fact is for EVERY $ 1 they cap damages two-thirds of that goes to you, the injured clients. You're the ones with permanent injuries, disfigurement and disabilities who can not work and who have enormous medical bills and rather than allow 12 voters to decide what's fair Mr. Greenburg would rather the politicians he influences decide this. That way the money goes from your family to Mr. Greenberg's!

Friday, January 31, 2003

Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Southeastern Wisconsin residents should watch WTMJ 4 tonight for a story on "Medical Mistakes." WTMJ's Reporter Kimberly Kane uncovers Wisconsin physicians medical mistakes, the frequency of Wisconsin doctors and Wisconsin hospitals negligence, and why so much of your doctor's track record could be kept secret! See my post from 1/20/2003. Watch the 10:00 O'clock Report, tonight on TODAY'S TMJ4.
Finally, someone tells doctors the truth.

In an article from the Palm Beach Post Dose of reality for doctors, writer Phil Galewitz reports on how "The antidote that Florida's doctors hope will cure soaring malpractice insurance rates -- a $250,000 cap on pain and suffering damages -- won't work, the state's largest malpractice insurer said Tuesday."

Physicians had staged a "two-day walkout to protest runaway malpractice insurance costs" but contrary to belief and the doctors' belief, the BEST DOCTORS COULD HOPE FOR WOULD BE A 16% premium cut in 3-5 YEARS.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Wisconsin lawyers and medical negligence attorneys probably have not seen anything quite like this medical malpractice case. A doctor from Kentucky, who in the case of Stephanie Means v. Dr. James Guiler filed January 22, 2003, is accused of using his position as a physican to brand a woman's uterus. See for yourself The Smoking Gun: Archive - The Reckless Doctor. Think we should limit punitive damages for this doctor? That's what would happen under Congressman Dr. Bill Frist's plan. Learn also about another negligent doctor, see The Smoking Gun's Winona Ryder Physician's Helping Hand.

Also, see the public information available at http://www.questionabledoctors.org/ and http://www.worstpills.org/.

Don't let Congressman Frist get the radical changes he wants. All these doctor strikes are the equivalent of the "Closing the Firehouse" strategy employed by the governement when it's really time to cut fat. Millions of people are affected by medical negligence and dangerous pharmaceutical products and though you don't care about this most of the time, when it happens to you, you'll care then. Unfortunately, by then it may be too late. Here in Wisconsin we already have some of the most horrific laws on the books regarding medical malpractice cases against Wisconsin doctors.

Monday, January 20, 2003

Regarding the potential medical malpractice tort deform, you should call, write or email your Senators and Representative to discourage them from changing tort laws relating to physicians, pharmaceutical companies and health care providers. The specific change called for by Congressman Dr. Bill Frist is a $250,000 cap on 'noneconomic' malpractice damage awards, which includes such things as disfigurement, pain and suffering, and disability.

Thus, under Dr. Frist's proposal:
(a) Doctor cuts off the wrong leg of a 2 year old -> $250,000 is the maximum ever available for disfigurement, pain and suffering, and disability.
(b) Doctor cuts off the wrong arm of a 40 year old with 3 children -> $250,000 is the maximum ever available for disfigurement, pain and suffering, and disability.
(c) Doctor negligently kills a 30 year old mother of 2 children who dies after a month of sufffering -> $250,000 is the maximum ever available for disfigurement, pain and suffering, and disability.
(d) Doctor negligently kills a 30 year old mother of 2 children who dies after 2 years of sufffering -> $250,000 is the maximum ever available for disfigurement, pain and suffering, and disability.

Check out some of the public information available at http://www.questionabledoctors.org/ and http://www.worstpills.org/. Millions of people have been and are affected by medical negligence and dangerous pharmaceutical products and if Dr. Frist gets the radical changes he is looking for, the public will be at risk and we will all be effected.

Wisconsin citizens will not find public information relating to the medical malpractice of a negligent Wisconsin doctor and physician on these sites. However, the Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing's Reports of Decisions December 1998 to Present that allows you to type in the last name of the license holder, the profession, or text you wish to search. The decisions "routinely included are decisions in cases initiated by the filing of a formal complaint or petition for summary suspension, disciplinary decisions reached through stipulation, cases dismissed without discipline, interim orders staying imposition of discipline, and orders modifying limitations previously imposed." You may also file a complaint against a Wisconsin physician by phoning 608/266-7482. You may also contact the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board at 608/266-2811 as this Wisconsin entity reviews and is supposed to act on complaints made against Wisconsin doctors. I do not suggest contacting the Wisconsin Medical Society as this is a professional organization that actually represents many Wisconsin physicians, Wisconsin residents and Wisconsin medical school students.

For filing complaints or discussing problems relating to Wisconsin health care providers other than Wisconsin doctors or Wisconsin physicians, go to the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services - "If You Have a Problem Page".

Sunday, January 19, 2003

For the record, no one should take the political commentary on this site out of context so as to try and label me a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican. The fact is that there are good and bad leaders in both parties on every level of government - from school boards to the White House. The problem I see with regard to personal injury issues, however, is that many Republicans and some Democrats fail to appreciate the critical role tort lawyers play in making injured victims whole and keeping products, highways and hospitals safe. I kid around with family members about making people whole, but the fact is that personal injury lawyers in Wisconsin and elsewhere are simply a different type of doctor trying to help put back together someone whose life has been damaged by someone else's negligent conduct. All we can do is get money for those people because that's all that can be done. In addition though, there is the deterent effect - everyone knows that if they are negligent in a manner that causes injury to someone else, they may be brought to court. When it comes to medical malpractice, the same holds true.

Presently, our system of justice - which makes people harmed by medical negligence whole and deters doctors and nurses from negligent conduct - is under seige by the insurance industry. However, the problem with enacting the changes it requests are as follows:
(1) The insurance industry has far too much control over our health care system. These companies are pillaging business on every level, including lawyers and doctors. This needs to be changed. USA Today explained in "Managed care insurers' profits are up" how managed care insurers forced customers into outrageous premium increases stating that "With the exception of Cigna, third-quarter earnings were up 47% on average for 11 major insurers..." and yet "Premiums are expected to rise an average of 15.4% this year....."
(2) Until we reform the insurance industry to substantially reduce the control these companies have on the health care system, we will not be able to reduce and stabilize malpractice premiums for doctors or more importantly, to assure appropriate and reasonable (non-negligent) care for patients.
(3) Caps on the amount of damages recoverable in a malpractice case never have and never will lower medical malpractice insurance rates for doctors. See the January 2003 note published in the Insurance Industry's own journal, Insurance Journal: Study by West Virginia Lawmakers shows that Damage Caps Won't Lower Med-Mal Coverage Rates, which also refers to another study done by a consumer group that found medical malpractice insurance premiums track economic cycles and not pay-outs in malpractice cases, which have remained flat for the last decade.
(4) Instead of helping the insurance industry by taking away people's rights, we need to take away the insurance industry's anti-trust exemption and enact other insurance reforms. The insurance industry should not have more rights than patients and presently such companies are legally permitted to collude and fix prices. Insurance companies should have to operate like nearly every other business in America, and not be permittedd to collude and fix prices.

For more substantive information see and join the Center for Justice and Democracy and check out the free fact sheets it offers this month which include the following Adobe .PDF files:
Doctors' Voices: The Problem with Malpractice is Malpractice
Women Terrorized by the Falsehoods About Doctor Availability Due to Malpractice Insurance; Evidence Shows Doctors are Coming into States, Not Leaving

If you have a chance, see my Wisconsin law firm site at Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney

Thursday, January 16, 2003

Why the call for tort deform? Insurers aren't making money in the stock market (join the club) and so they want doctors and homeowners to pay their bonuses with jacked up premiums. They also want a government bailout in the form of tort deform. Yet, no one has ever proven that taking away such rights lowers insurance costs. There is no relationship between "tort reform" and insurance premiums. It's all just a bunch of political payback to insurers - see my Bill Frist piece - and doctors for some reason believe their rates will go down. Don't believe there's a "crisis." That's a lie.

For truths see Public Citizen's Medical Misdiagnosis: Challenging the Malpractice Claims of the Doctors' Lobby.

Friday, January 10, 2003

Stella Awards email is a hoax! Tort deformers, perhaps prompted by the Chamber of Commerce, decided to MAKE UP FICTIONAL CASES for Stella Awards. The ridiculous award is named after a woman horribly burned in the "McDonald's Case" see Urban Legend's Red Hot McDonald's Page and Urban Legend's Legal Begal Page.

This email that has a story about a man who set his Winnebago on cruise control and got up to make coffee and the RV crashed. Supposedly, he sues the manufacturer for failing to tell him to stay in the driver's seat and a jury awards $1.75 million.... It's ALL a lie!

The Chamber of Commerce and others want you to believe this garbage so you let them take away your rights via tort deform and damages caps. Many in Congress buy this, just as I'm sure some of you believed this. In fact, Wisconsin lawyers brought the following FICTIONAL EMAIL to me, not knowing it was fake and asserting that this is why "there are too many lawsuits" and "juries are stupid." Well, like the email, it's all a lie. Here's what the Stella Awards email says:

This is what's wrong with the world:

January 2000: Kathleen Robertson of Austin Texas was
awarded $780,000.00 by a jury of her peers after breaking
her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running
amuck inside a furniture store. The owners of the
store were understandably surprised at the verdict,
considering the misbehaving tyke was Ms. Robertson's

June 1998: A 19 year old Carl Truman of Los Angeles
won $74,000.00 and medical expenses when his neighbor
ran his hand over with a Honda Accord. Mr. Truman
apparently didn't notice someone was at the wheel
of the car whose hubcap he was trying to steal

October 1998: A Terrence Dickson of Bristol Pennsylvania
was exiting a house he finished robbing by way of
the garage. He was not able to get the garage door
to go up, because the automatic door opener was
malfunctioning. He couldn't re-enter the house because
the door connecting the house and garage locked
when he pulled it shut. The family was on vacation,
so Mr. Dickson found himself locked in the garage
for eight days. He subsisted on a case of Pepsi
he found, and a large bag of dry dog food. This
upset Mr. Dickson, so he sued the homeowner's insurance
claiming the situation caused him undue mental anguish.
The jury agreed to the tune of half a million dollars
and change.

October 1999: Jerry Williams of Little Rock Arkansas
was awarded $14,500.00 and medical expenses after
being bitten on the buttocks by his next door neighbor's
beagle. The beagle was on a chain in its owner's
fenced-in yard, as was Mr. Williams. The award was
less than sought after because the jury felt the
dog may have been provoked by Mr. Williams who,
at the time, was shooting it repeatedly with a pellet
gun.

May 2000: A Philadelphia restaurant was ordered to
pay Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania $113,500
after she slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke
her coccyx. The beverage was on the floor because
Ms. Carson threw it at her boyfriend 30 seconds
earlier during an argument

December 1997: Kara Walton of Claymont, Delaware
successfully sued the owner of a night club in a neighboring
city when she fell from the bathroom window to the
floor and knocked out her two front teeth. This
occurred while Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through
the window in the ladies room to avoid paying the
$3.50 cover charge. She was awarded $12,000.00 and
dental expenses

And the winner is: Mr. Merv Grazinksi of Oklahoma City.
In November 2000, Mr. Grazinski purchased a brand
new 32 foot Winnebago motor home. On his first trip
home, having joined the freeway, he set the cruise
control at 70 mph and calmly left the drivers seat
to go into the back and make himself a cup of coffee.
Not surprisingly, the Winnie left the freeway, crashed
and overturned. Mr. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not
advising him in the handbook that he could not actually
do this. He was awarded $1,750,000 plus a new Winnebago.
(Winnebago actually changed their handbooks after
this court case, just in case there are any other
complete morons buying their vehicles).

REMEMBER this Stella Awards e-mail 100% FALSE as branded by http://www.snopes.com. Snoops says "all of the entries in the list are fabrications - a search for news stories about each of these cases failed to turn up anything, as did a search for each law case."

Saturday, January 04, 2003

Here's an interesting article confirming what I communicate about the lies insurance companies tell the public in an effort to get politicians to enact tort deform laws Insurers Flip the 'Crisis' Switch.

Friday, January 03, 2003

Here it comes...tort deform from the Tennessee Senator Bill Frist, the Republican heart surgeon in charge of the Senate Republicans. Being a doctor, the first item on his agenda is to help out all his physician friends who helped to raise $124,000,000 for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which helped Frist and Co. takeover of the Senate. See Yahoo's News' Fund Raising for GOP Pays Off for Frist. In his election in 1998, according to Open Secret's Industry Contributions list, Frist's top contributors were Health Professionals giving $1,019,478, also in the top groups were Hospitals/Nursing Homes $255,125, Insurance $173,006, and Pharmaceuticals/Health Products $172,366.

I told you it was coming, but didn't know it'd be quite this obvious. See my posts from 11/8/02 and 11/16/02 for more information. Also, add to that post the fact that Managed care insurers' profits are up. The USA Today article explains how managed care insurers had a healthy 2002 while forcing customers into double-digit premium increases. The article states that "With the exception of Cigna, third-quarter earnings were up 47% on average for 11 major insurers..." and yet "Premiums are expected to rise an average of 15.4% this year....." It should not be any wonder then why employers and other businesses that buy health insurance often support medical malpractice deform, but do they really think that healthcare costs will go down with it and that these insurers will reduce their premiums? They just increased earnings 47% and still raise premiums 15.4%!