Tort Reform

You’ve heard of the “outrageous” McDonald’s case? You know it, it’s the poster child for tort reform. Well, did you know that:

1. Despite hundreds of warnings (at least 70 prior reported complaints), McDonalds refused to lower the coffee temperature from a point where it knew it would cause severe burns if it directly contacted the body;
2. Stella Liebeck was a passenger, not the driver as some have claimed;
3. The auto in which Mrs. L was a passenger was stopped to allow Mrs. L to add the customary cream & sugar to the flimsy styrofoam cup.

If you doubt this, then visit The Actual Facts about the Mcdonalds’ Coffee Case

I don’t mind arguing about the benefits of tort reform but let’s all work from the same facts.

I love the jury system. We all should. We trust our peers to get it right in criminal law. So how come we don’t trust them to get it right when it comes to medical malpractice? O, right, it’s the lawyers’ fault. Is it? It’s not the lawyers who are giving out large verdicts–it’s a jury. So tort reform is actually saying that a jury is too dumb or too emotional to be trusted with money. Is that right? But we can trust a jury of our peers to do justice in criminal cases? How can that be?

I’ve tried over 40 jury cases and I’ve got to admit–Jury’s usually get it about right. Sometimes I don’t agree, but juries try to get it right. Usually I’d rather have a jury than a judge–not always, but usually.

Why are only plaintiff lawyers criticized? They get paid only when they win because they are on contingency. How about all the defense lawyers who get paid whether or not they win? Shouldn’t they be criticized for running up costs in losing cases?

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