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.