Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Catching A Little Flak

At the end of a fascinating article (on our website) about Gov. Rendell's appointment of a new state dog warden was this paragraph:

"The Rendell administration is committed to creating a first-rate public education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing economic investment to support our communities and businesses. To find out more about Governor Rendell’s initiatives and to sign up for his weekly newsletter, visit his Web:"

We need to do a better job when it comes to rewriting the governor's press releases.


Anonymous e said...

They should re-write their blurb to say:

"The Rendell administration is committed to re-writing the constitution in violation of his oath of office, taking away the civil liberties of law abiding Pennsylvania gun owners and lying to promote the governor's anti-gun agenda. To find out more about Governor Rendell's skewed vision of reality and to sign up for his weekly propaganda, visit his web:"

January 2, 2008 at 7:13 PM 
Blogger Spencerblog said...

Me likey, e.

January 2, 2008 at 7:17 PM 
Anonymous e said...

As if you couldn't tell, I don't like fast Eddy.

January 2, 2008 at 7:19 PM 
Anonymous randal said...

The Lib Press needs to get off Eddie's leg.

The pillars of Fast Eddie’s legacy will include: Assailing our gun rights like a true Leftist appealing to the simpletons, obstructing meaningful medical tort reform in order to protect the interests of his lawyer donor buddies, and taxing rural folks who have never so much as seen a SEPTA bus in order to pay for that wasteful urban Welfare-on-wheels. Oh, and he also stole our highway maintenance dollars and fed them to that insatiable SEPTA monster too, thereby leaving our aging infrastructure vulnerable to bridge collapses like we saw in the Mid West last year. Some legacy… If one of our old bridges were to go down Fast Eddie should be held personally accountable.

January 3, 2008 at 12:10 AM 
Anonymous law prof said...


Precisely which "meaningful medical tort reform" do you claim our Governor has obstructed?

Please include with your answer an outline of the "medical tort reform" which has already been implemented by the PA Supreme Court or our legislature during the past 5 years.

I very much look forward to your response.

January 3, 2008 at 5:36 PM 
Anonymous r said...

Nope. I’m not gonna play that game, Lib Law Guy. This isn’t a test of my knowledge. You know as well as I that Fast Eddie is in cahoots with and in the pocket of his lawyer buddies. And that he has worked overtime to obstruct things like caps on ridiculous medical malpractice jury awards and other efforts to rein in that runaway corrupt system in crisis.
Here’s what I do know: We should outlaw –yes, outlaw- ALL medical lawsuits except in cases of willful misconduct. (I’ll bet that got your Lib lawyer panties in a bunch!) Think that in developing countries where they are thankful to have any medical treatment at all that they first think how they must avoid getting sued when delivering their inexact science of medicine? No, that is nothing more that a Lib lawyer construct that has cost us lives and dollars. It must be stopped.
Libs and lawyers have harmed our country and the delivery of medical services much more than GWB vetoing some Socialist scheme to spread the medical wealth.

January 3, 2008 at 6:19 PM 
Anonymous law prof said...


The bell has rung, but you won't come out of your corner to fight, I see.

Read this letter to the editor in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette. I challenge you, once again, to refute it with facts.

I'm anxiously awaiting your response, Randall.

Pa. is for doctors
Friday, January 4, 2008

Dr. Gregg Goldstrohm makes a case for Pennsylvania doctors to move to Texas, where he said tort reform has increased the number of doctors ("Pa. needs tort reform," Letters, Dec. 28 and
Unfortunately, his facts are wrong. The real story is that Pennsylvania is a great place for families to live and for doctors to practice medicine.

Gov. Rendell laid out the facts when he went to the College of Physicians and said in no uncertain terms that the medical malpractice crisis is over.

He said that payments by the state to subsidize insurance for doctors are down 50 percent since 2003 and cited statistics showing that medical malpractice lawsuits filed in the entire state are down by 38 percent since 2002.

The insurance industry has responded. Two of the largest medical malpractice carriers are decreasing their rates. Since 2002, 57 newly licensed carriers are now insuring doctors in our state, giving the medical profession competitive choice in the marketplace.
Regardless of what is happening in Texas, the number of doctors in Pennsylvania has remained constant over the last five years.

We should not play into the hands of the health-care special interests, which propagate myths about a so-called health-care crisis and a mythical stampede of doctors out of the state.

On medical malpractice, Pennsylvania has proven that the caseload can come down without taking away constitutional rights of its citizens.

Bill Caroselli
The writer is an attorney and past president of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice.

January 4, 2008 at 3:37 PM 
Blogger Spencerblog said...

Hey Law Prof,

A friend of mine sent this along:

In March of 2006, Rendell
vetoed a bill that would have reformed PA's system of joint and several
liability. Joint and several means that all defendants are 'jointly and
severally liable' for the potential damages in a case meaning the
defendant who is only 5% liable or less could be made to pay 100% of the
award if the other defendants are unable to pay. Personal injury
lawyers have used the concept to bring in any conceivable defendant that
might have assets or insurance ie. the deep pockets approach. This
means the small business brought into a case because somebody slipped on
the property they rented and for which they were not responsible (true
story), the chain retailer that paid $1 million dollars to get out of a
suit brought because of a violent crime that happened to be on their
property and for which they had no real liability (true story), the
hospital made to pay virtually all of a multi-million dollar lawsuit
(even though they were found to be minimally liable) and shortly after
declaring bankruptcy (again a true story--the hospital is in Tyrone,
PA), and the family doctor sued because they referred a patient to a
specialist found guilty of malpractice on that patient (again, a true
story.) The business community, doctors, hospitals, and local
governments all supported a change to the joint and several doctrine,
called the Fair Share Act, that would make defendants responsible for
the percent of harm they cause. Only if your contribution reached 60%
could you be made to pay 100%. An identical act was passed in 2002 but
struck down by the courts after House Democrat leadership claimed it
violated a procedural rule.

As a candidate in 2002, Rendell claimed he fully supported the Fair
Share Act. He issued press releases asking House Democrat leadership to
drop their legal action against the bill. He even hinted the ideas in
the bill were his. When Mike Fisher, Rendell's general election
opponent in 2002 dared to question the sincerity of his support for
joint and several reform, Rendell's camp issued a 'how dare he' response
to Fisher. (By the way, we have all of this in writing.)

When it came time to sign a bill containing the exact language he
claimed he supported as a candidate, Gov. Rendell sided with personal
injury lawyers and against hospitals, doctors, business, and local

We (doctors, hospitals, and business) have decided this issue is too
important not to make another attempt so we are pushing legislative
action again. Many of the hospitals in your area (and across PA) have
said this is their biggest legal reform issue.

Another interesting point about all of this is the current debate over
the abatement fund here in PA that is funded by taxes and used to
discount medical malpractice insurance for doctors and hospitals. Both
doctors and hospitals would rather pass significant legal reform that
would drive down the cost of medical malpractice insurance. Only one
interest strongly supports continuation of the M-Care Abatement--trial
lawyers. They know this relieves the pressure to pass significant legal
reform here in PA.

Any questions?

January 4, 2008 at 4:53 PM 
Anonymous e said...

It all goes back to what we were saying about "many lawyers" a few weeks ago. They only care about winning or losing, not right or wrong. I suspect "law prof" was trying to beat randall in a debate and you screwed it up Gil.

January 4, 2008 at 6:28 PM 
Anonymous law prof said...

My Dear Mr. Spencer,

Let's be precise.

Your friend Randal claimed that our Governor has obstructed "meaningful medical tort reform."

I challenged him to identify at least instance.

You leapt to your friend's defense by passing on an opinion, apparently written by a physician, that identified the issue of joint and several liability.

With all respect, Mr. Spencer, that is as much of a "meaningful medical tort reform" as the "Holy Roman Empire" was actually holy, Roman or an empire.

Let me educate you a bit about joint and several liability using one of my most favorite teaching tools, the hypothetical.

Assume you are driving home from work. You dutifully stop at a redlight. Suddenly, a truck driven by a drunk driver and a BWM operated by another drunk driver recklessly and violently smash simultaneously into the rear of your car, causing you serious injuries.

If the drunk truck driver and the drunk BMW driver were to each argue that the other was at fault for your resulting serious injuries, you would understandably respond, "Hogwash. You are both at fault."

Let's say each of these drunk drivers refuses to settle with you and you're therefore forced to go to trial against them.

At the conclusion of the trial, the judge would explain to the jury that its first job is to decide whether each of the drunk drivers was careless in regard to the collision. Based on the evidence, the jury would decide that both drunk drivers were careless.

Now here's where the concept of joint and several liability first comes in. The judge would then explain to the jury that its second job is to appropriately apportion the total carelessness to each of the liable drunk drivers, using 100% as the whole. Based on the evidence, the jury would apportion the carelessness on the basis of 50% upon the drunk truck driver and 50% upon the drunk BMW driver.

So the jury has already decided that each drunk driver was careless. All the jury has done is to divide up the total carelessness between the liable parties.

The judge would then explain to the jury that its third job is to determine whether each drunk driver's carelessness was the legal cause of the injuries you complain of. Based on the evidence, the jury would decide that each drunk driver's carelessness was the legal cause of the injuries you complain of.

So the jury has decided that both drunk drivers are liable to you, which is exactly what you expected.

The judge would then explain to the jury that its final job is to determine the total amount of compensation to which you are entitled for your injuries. Let's say that the jury determines that
to be $100,000.00.

If both drunk drivers have insurance or other assets to compensate you, then each will pay you 50% of that $100,000.00 so that you are made whole.

But what happens if the drunk truck driver has no insurance or other assets?

Under the so-called "Fair Share Act", because the BMW drunk driver was assigned 50% of the total carelessness involved, he would get away with paying only $50,000.00, leaving you another $50,000.00 short of being made whole.

Under our current system, which has been the system of justice since our Commonwealth's origination, because the BMW drunk driver was determined to be careless in regard to the collision, and his carelessness was determined to be a legal cause of your injuries, the BMW drunk driver would not be allowed to escape responsibility for the remaining $50,000.00 simply because you had the misfortune of being simultaneously injured by another drunk driver who has no insurance or other assets.

Our current system aims to fully and fairly make the victim of carelessness whole.

Even your friend Randal can't argue against that.

January 5, 2008 at 9:53 AM 
Anonymous e said...

I can argue with that. Logic would dictate that your hypothetical scenario should have been handled as two separate incidents, unless the two drunk drivers somehow conspired with each other to crash into your victim. Thy are each 100% wrong in their separate cases. The fact that BMW was drunk and crashed into victim has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that truck driver was drunk and crashed into the victim, other than they coincidently happened at the same time. I'm sure one of your buddy's would be arguing for BMW that a truck would surely cause more damage than a tiny sports car anyway.

Here's another hypothetical scenario that uses your logic, but clearly shows your theory is flawed.

Two people, with no affiliation are sitting down to dinner at the same crowded restaurant. They both order the same meal and finish eating at the same time. When finished, coincidently, they both get up and walk out of the restaurant without paying for their meal. Oddly enough, their bills are exactly the same, $50. They both get in their separate cars and leave the lot. Both are stopped by the Police a few blocks away. The dine and dasher driving the BMW has $1,000 in his pocket. The dine and dasher who left in his pick up has no money at all. Our victim, the restaurant, is out $100. Who makes the victim whole in this case? Does the dine and dasher in the BMW have to pay for the other guy's meal just because he has the money? I don't think so.

January 5, 2008 at 10:32 AM 
Anonymous law prof said...

Dear e,

Do you really think apples and bananas are comparable?

You may as well have said as much.

I'll give you an "A" for effort, but an "F" for cogency.

Perhaps you may benefit from a basic logic class. Many local colleges will alow you to audit one for free.

Enjoy your day.

January 5, 2008 at 3:51 PM 
Blogger Spencerblog said...

And the winner is... e-man.

It is Law Prof that gets the E for Effortless and a B for Bloviating.

January 5, 2008 at 4:34 PM 
Anonymous e said...

Thanks Gil.

Law Prof,

Don't get mad. Seriously, what is the difference then if I'm missing it?

January 5, 2008 at 6:31 PM 
Anonymous r said...

Thanks guys, but I didn't need your help. Lib Law Prof seems to be the only person who doesn't believe the toll lawyers and lawsuits have taken on the medical delivery system in this country. When doctors first concern themselves with liability and getting sued, when the fear of lawsuits dictates medical treatment, something is seriously wrong. And it is utterly disgusting that Libs like LLP would support and promote such a harmful and corrupt system just to line their own pockets.

Once again, we need to outlaw ALL frivolous medical lawsuits except in cases of willful misconduct. Because they are all frivolous.

January 6, 2008 at 11:43 AM 
Anonymous randal said...

I’ll bet that scumbag John Edwards, who made his millions chasing ambulances, shaking-down doctors and hospitals and insurance companies, is Lib Law Prof’s hero.
Tell us, LLP, who ya gonna vote for in the Socialist Donkey primary?

January 7, 2008 at 11:47 AM 

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