Lying Lawyers

| | Comments (0)
I know, the adjective is redundant.

In WA there's an initiative, I-330. It basically limits noneconomic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits. There's plenty in there to criticize, and no law is perfect.

But the lawyers who oppose I-330 are not content to argue the initiative on its merits. The first thing they did was get their own ballot initiative, I-336, which purports to try to solve the same problem (rising malpractice insurance costs) in a different way: by going after "bad doctors."

And, of course, they were highly deceptive in getting this initiative on the ballot. To people sympathetic to I-330, they made it sound like the two were complentary, taking on different sides of the same issue. To people opposed to I-330, they made it sound like it would solve all the problems I-336 tried, but would fail, to fix.

And to some people, they were even saying to go ahead and vote no on both if they weren't sure about what they were doing, showing their real goal is not to win I-336, but to confuse people enough so I-330 will lose.

Now that the election is only a month away (well, less, now), the anti-I-330 people have stepped it up. Their first TV ad said that "under I-330, you'd be giving up your right to a jury or court trial." This is absoultely false. What I-330 does do is allow arbitration to be an option, that both parties have to agree to.

I know their point is that I-330 allows the health care companies to essentially force arbitration on the consumers. But it's not clear that is true, and what is clear is that the consumer must be clearly notified of this waiver and has the option to not sign. And again, instead of arguing the actual point, they exaggerate to the point of lying. They could have used an accurate wording: "you may be giving up ... ." Instead, the lie, and say, "you would be giving up ... ." They can't help themselves.

And their new ad is even worse. They get a sympathetic case, a guy who is in his 60s or 70s, who had a doctor ruin his trachea, who has had many operations to try to fix it. And he is speaking, and you can barely make out the words, and he says "this $350,000 limit would apply to everyone, no exceptions. Even to someone like me."

But what they do not say is that it only applies to noneconomic damages. Through omission and juxtaposition they intentionally imply that the limit applies to all damages. But no, the limits do not apply to anything economic: "someone like him" would still be able to sue, without limit, for lost wages (actual and future), medical costs, long-term care costs, and so on. "Someone like him" would, if he won the lawsuit, surely receive damages of tens, maybe even hundreds, of millions of dollars.

But what does one expect? Lawyers lie. It's what they do. Especially the malpractice and personal injury breed.

Leave a comment

<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by pudge published on October 18, 2005 3:26 PM.

Birthday Song was the previous entry in this site.

Bush Nominates Flying Spaghetti Monster For Supreme Court is the next entry in this site.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.