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August 29, 2003

Skeptical About Motives When Lawyers Stop Taking Malpractice Cases

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 3:31 pm

Brian Peterson’s Weblog has reported that a “W.Va. law firm stops taking cases for malpractice” as a direct result of new caps on non-economic damages (pointing to an article in The Parkersburg News and Sentinel  (by Evan Bevins, Aug. 25, 2003).


The firm in question notes that malpractice suits are expensive to bring, and “the new law makes it harder to get a ‘fair verdict’ for clients.”   Further down in PN&S article is another explanation: 

“The firm’s financial considerations played a part in the decision, [its spokesman] said, just as decreasing fees might cause a doctor to stop performing a certain procedure.  ‘That does enter into it, just like any other decision,’ he said.”

The Editor of this blawg is on vacation, but his cousin skepticalEsq just stopped by and left the following Comment:

Let me see if I understand this:  Just when “fair verdicts” will be especially hard and victims need devoted p/i lawyers more than ever to fight for every penny they deserve, firms are deciding to stop taking malpractice cases due to “financial considerations” like “decreasing fees.”   Seems to me, the Trial Lawyers’ Association needs to do a little better spin control and pr training within its own ranks, before the public starts to think that 25% of the first half million dollars in non-economic damages is just too trifling an amount to attract a good p/i lawyer.  We wouldn’t want Americans to get unduly cynical about their lawyers.

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