Again – Tort Reform Has No Impact on Health Care Costs in Texas

 

Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_vinntom'> / 123RF Stock Photo</a>Tort reform in the Lone Star State has been a favorite topic on our blog.  One blog in particular discussed the fact that the Texas med mal law has had no impact on health care costs as its proponents said it would.

 

A recent article in the Austin Statesman-American cites a new study that found no evidence that health care costs in Texas went down after the 2003 constitutional amendment that limited payouts in med mal lawsuits, despite claims make to voters by some backers of tort reform.

 

According to the article, “a 2003 voter campaign in Texas, and some congressional backers of Texas-style tort reform in every state, however, argued that capping damage awards would not only curb malpractice lawsuits and insurance costs for doctors, it would lower costs for patients while boosting their access to physicians.”  However, the study examined spending in Texas and found that there were no reduction in fees for seniors and disabled patients between 2002 and 2009.

 

This study comes on the heels of a report last filed by Public Citizen that found that Medicare spending in Texas actually rose much faster than the national average after tort reform.

 

While health care costs have not gone down as a result of the legislation, one dynamic has become prevalent – “…some Texas residents have complained that they cannot find a lawyer to pursue a malpractice case because of the $750,000 cap on payouts for pain, suffering, disfigurement and mental anguish.”

 

I guess we now know the real intent of the law.

 

The full article can be read here.

 

Paul B. Myers

Chief Credit Officer

 

Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo
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Another Victory for Attorney Lance Cooper in Defective Tire Case

 

In a recent settlement with Michelin and Pep Boys, Advocate Capital, Inc. friend and colleague, Lance A. Cooper received a significant recovery for his client who suffered numerous injuries including a traumatic brain injury as a result of an automobile accident involving defective tires.

 

The plaintiff’s vehicle was struck by a GMC Envoy and rolled over on the highway after the Envoy’s tires sustained tread separation causing its driver to lose control.   The product liability claim against Michelin stemmed from defective design and manufacture of the tire known as Rugged Trail T/A which caused the tread separation to occur.

 

Pep Boys serviced the Envoy in 2007 at which time they placed new tires on the front of the vehicle, in violation of their own policy of putting the best tires on the rear of a vehicle.  The Envoy was serviced again by Pep Boys in April, 2009 approximately 5 weeks before the accident.  This service was supposed to include tire rotation which would have moved the Rugged Trail tires from the rear of the vehicle to the front.  This tire rotation never occurred.  Further, Pep Boys should have removed the Rugged Trail tires during this April, 2009 service since it was clear that there were warning signs of tread separation.

 

Mr. Cooper, founding member of The Cooper Firm, concentrates his practice representing plaintiffs in substantial personal injury and wrongful death cases.  He is a former president of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association as well as the Cobb County Trial Lawyers Association.   Lance has also been included in the Georgia Super Lawyers by Atlanta Magazine from 2006 to 2011.

 

Thanks again Lance Cooper from consumers everywhere for your diligent efforts in keeping us safe!

 

Donna A. Jones

Vice President, Operations

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Yes, Some Things Still Are Made In America!

 

Last night at a business awards dinner (topic for a future blog) I met Jack King the Owner of L.C. Manufacturing based in Bristol, TN.  I was encouraged to hear about his fourth-generation family business that has been making high quality work clothing since 1913!  His company is proof that the U.S. can still be competitive, even in an industry like clothing manufacturing in which jobs have been so massively shipped overseas.

 

Want more encouragement?  Here’s a great blog by David Mielach about 13 iconic brands that are still made in America.  From Wiffle Balls to Harley Davidson motorcycles, there are still some great products being made in the U.S.A.

 

Michael J. Swanson

President and Chief Executive Officer

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Build Your Brand – Five SEO Tricks

 

Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_alexmit'> / 123RF Stock Photo</a>If you are like most other businesses, you are using the Internet to help market your law firm.  The article “5 SEO Tricks to Build Your Brand” by Dan Schawbel provides some great advice.  His five recommendations include:

 

  • Choose your keywords carefully.
  • Create proper meta tags.
  • Publish content that people will share.
  • Establish links within your site.
  • Seek inbound linked to your site.

 

To read the full article, click here.

 

Kelly A. O’Leary, CPA, CGMA, MBA, CITP

Director of Finance and Administration

 

Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo
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Technology in the Courtroom

 

Law Technology News shares an interview by Kate Moser of The Recorder with California Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Kurt Kumli.

 

Judge Kumli discusses the use of technology during a jury trial and discloses his opinion on the most common mistakes experienced attorneys make.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tina Burns

Market Manager

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Michigan Lawmakers Considering Changes to Medical Malpractice Laws

 

According to a recent report by Michigan Radio, the collection of changes to current laws is being called the “Patients First Reform Package” – a misnomer if ever I’ve seen one.  The packages would, among other things, make it harder to successfully sue a doctor for malpractice and would potentially reduce jury awards.

 

Supporters of the legislation assert that they are necessary to reduce the need for doctors to do expensive “defensive medicine” and to cap expanding “pain and suffering” awards.

 

The trial bar in Michigan disagrees, of course.  They complain that the changes will give doctors an unfair advantage in the courts.  One provision in particular seems to tilt all litigation in the physician’s favor.  This provision would protect a physician from a med mal lawsuit, as long as “the doctor acts with a reasonable and good faith belief” that he or she acted in the best interest of the patient.  The trial bar says that this is an almost impossible provision to overcome.

 

Norman Tucker of the Michigan Association of Justice says that since Michigan enacted major tort reforms in the 1990s the number of med mal suits have already dropped dramatically.  “The net number in Michigan per year…after people file cases and dismiss them for different reasons…are averaging under 500 cases (per year) since 2004,” says Mr. Tucker.  “This legislation doesn’t have anything to do with lawsuits.”

 

We would have to agree, Mr. Tucker.

 

Paul B. Myers

Chief Credit Officer

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Manage Workplace Frustrations

 

7K0A0116I recently came across an article entitled “6 Tips Guaranteed to Reduce Workplace Frustrations.”  The author, Bruna Martinuzzi, shares ways that managers can improve workplace conditions for their employees.  Take a minute to browse this brief article and you will find yourself nodding in agreement with her recommendations!

 

Ideas presented include:

 

  • Eliminate the dumb things (ETDT).
  • Don’t issue a company-wide rule that only applies to a few.
  • Set up a closing ritual for team projects.
  • Stop shifting priorities on people.
  • Use your common sense.
  • Simplify the review process.

 

The full article can be viewed here.

 

Kelly A. O’Leary, CPA, CGMA, MBA, CITP

Director of Finance and Administration

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Systems are the Key to Increasing Your Case Load

 

Law firm marketing expert, Harlan Schillinger, shared a brief but excellent blog last week pointing out the importance of implementing systems for your law firm in three key areas:  Intake, Email Campaigns and Exit Interviews.  Read the full blog by clicking here.

 

Many of our most successful law firm clients here at Advocate Capital, Inc. rely upon the marketing and advertising expertise of Harlan and the rest of the excellent team at Network Affiliates.  They do excellent work and I highly recommend them to all of my clients.

 

Michael J. Swanson

President and Chief Executive Officer.

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In Honor of Our Clients…

 

As part of the Advocate Capital, Inc. Green Initiative we have made a commitment to be a “greener” company. We also want to make sure that we are doing our part to help our clients make an impact. To do this, we have decided to donate to the Arbor Day Foundation’s Plant 10 Trees in our Nation’s Forest program in our clients’ honor.

 

As of today, a total of 2,340 Native Pine, Fir, and Cedar Trees have been planted in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest and the Blackwater River State Forest on our clients’ behalf. We are excited to see this number grow and we will continue to donate to this program every time that we add a new law firm to our family of clients.

 

To discover the many benefits trees have to offer visit here.

 

Tina Burns

Marketing Manager

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As Usual, Politics Makes for Strange Bedfellows


We’ve blogged quite a bit about tort reform and politics in general in Texas here.  A recent article in the NY Times discusses an odd new phenomenon in Texas politics.  Conventional wisdom assumes that trial lawyers are naturally supporters of Democratic candidates.  While that is generally true, it appears as if at least some Texas trial lawyers are venturing to the other side of the political aisle, throwing support (and money) to Republican state house and senate candidates.  It’s an interesting approach, and one that has yet to yield the hoped-for results – i.e. a Republican candidate being elected that opposes tort reform.  To date, Republican candidates backed by Texans for Lawsuit Reform have handily defeated Republican candidates backed by trial attorneys.

 

You can read the full article here.

 

Paul B. Myers

Chief Credit Officer

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