The National Law Journal reports that New York City’s Common Good has joined the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to experiment with a tort reform idea of health courts. It would create "expert courts" in medical malpractice cases consisting of medical doctors, academics and others who would act as judge and jury. Among other tort reform restrictions, the plan would have a schedule for pain and suffering damages and caps on recovery. Does that sound like a an unbiased forum for patients injured by the negligence of doctors and hospitals? This "experiment" will be conducted in Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and Wyoming.
The NLJ article incorrectly describes Common Good as a "nonpartisan legal reform coalition." Is it? It’s founder is Philip K. Howard who is the author of the infamous The Death of Common Sense: How law is Suffocating America and the book The Collapse of the Common Good: How America’s Lawsuit Culture Undermines Our Freedom, so does that sound like a "non partisan" kind of guy to you who we could expect to create a fair court for hearing malpractice cases? I think not. It is the description of the kinds of tort reform zealot who would create a kangaroo court of the worst kind.
The idea of eliminating the right to jury trial in medical malpractice cases has been pushed by the tort reformers for years. They would do anything to put limits on rights, to take away the jury trials and to essentially deny remedies to injured patients. They love the system in other countries, especially third world countries, where you virtually can’t sue for medical negligence and your rights are so restricted that there is no accountability or responsibility for the incompetency of doctors and hospitals. The "expert court" idea is their favorite because it would be like trials in Communist countries with no ability to require accountability and virtually no right of recovery for wrong doing. Medical providers are insulated from any real accountability. Of course, these plans are promoted by the rich and powerful, never by people injured by the incompetence of medical providers. This is a bad idea flying under false colors of "reform."