President Bush traveled Wednesday to an Illinois county tagged by critics as the nation’s worst for frivolous lawsuits, setting the stage for a series of congressional measures designed to limit litigation against doctors and businesses.
In a speech in Madison County, across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Bush charged that “frivolous lawsuits” were driving good doctors from their practices, leaving patients to scramble for adequate health care and pushing up medical costs for all Americans.
Bush implored Congress to pass legislation that would put a cap of $250,000 on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases.
“What’s happening all across this country is that lawyers are filing baseless suits against hospitals and doctors. That’s just a plain fact,” Bush said. “And they’re doing it for a simple reason. They know the medical-liability system is tilted in their favor.”
Bush also used the visit to reiterate a call for other measures that backers say will hold down frivolous lawsuits, including legislation that would shift many class-action lawsuits from state courts to the federal bench and action to resolve thousands of asbestos-related lawsuits…
It’s way past time.
For a look into Madison County, the venue for President Bush’s speech: American Spectator – Tort Reform?s Ground Zero
Madison County is one of those little rotten boroughs that — with the help of the trial lawyers — has turned lawsuits into a cottage industry. At last count close to 20 percent of the asbestos lawsuits in the nation were being heard before a single Illinois state judge in Madison. Out-of-state corporations as diverse as Prudential, Ford, AIG, Philip Morris, General Motors, and dozens of others have had to troop down to Madison County before judges and juries obviously intent on stripping them of their worldly goods.
My biggest worry is that this will lead the fight into arguments about individual venues and their problems, avoiding addressing the Lawsuit Lottery mentality gripping America.
When Lotteries were being pushed in Texas (“It’s for The Children and The Schools”, remember that?), the detractors of state-sponsored gambling were marginalized as nuts, or worse. I now have an entirely different outlook on lotteries and the ‘something for nothing’ mentality they contribute to.