DC Intern Diaries

I'm a female 24 year old DC permanent intern. You name it and I've probably interned it. I'm also a graduate student in DC.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

2004 Judicial Hellholes

1. Madison County, Illinois
2. St. Clair County, Illinois
3. Hampton County, South Carolina
4. West Virginia (entire state)
5. Jefferson County, Texas
6. Orleans Parish, Louisiana
7. South Florida
8. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
9. Los Angeles, California

"Judicial Hellholes are places that have a disproportionately harmful impact on civil litigation. Personal injury lawyers seek out these places because they know that they will produce a positive outcome – an excessive verdict or settlement, a favorable precedent, or both." - ATRA

I generally do not buy into many of the tort reformers claims, I think that there are serious problems and deterrence issues with limiting damages and limiting plaintiffs ability for their day in court. However, some of the medical tort reform is necessary at some point - because I agree with the conservative think tanks that too much medical litigation is driving the cost of insurance too high and driving doctors out of those regions - which is very harmful to the citizens of those areas. As ATRA points out, Philadelphia’s court is driving physicians out of Pennsylvania. In 2001, 704 medical school residents stayed in Pennsylvania after completing their residency training. In 2003, that number fell to 285. One orthopedic surgeon who left Philadelphia for Maryland, which has limits on damages saw his insurance rates fall from $103,000 to $8,000.

The common good of having doctors in a region is ultimately more important that one plaintiff making $10 million in punitive damages from a doctor. However, I think that punitive damages still serve an important role in the legal system and shouldn't be capped so much as to be worthless and ineffective.

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