The thoughts that were thunk and the goings on of my life.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

My Point of View

Add this one to the list of fun emails posted:

Matt,

For as smart as you are, your so called analysis of tort reform is the biggest pile of crap… I mean its like something Limbaugh would say. Its all wrong. How would you like someone you know, going into the hospital for an outpatient surgery, being given 10 times the amount of anesthetic prescribed and waking up a quadripalegic. This is just an example. Under the caps he would be allowed about a max of half a million to almost a full million. Without caps, he settled outta court for 11 million. The awards are to punish bad behavior since doctors done. From 1998-2002, NO DOCTORS lost their licenses and at the same time about a 1000 lawyers did. Doctors don’t police themselves so they should pay. And as for contingent fees, how else is someone who is poor going to get representation. Take away contingent fees and take away access to the poor. So while everyone and FLIP knew you were a genius, you are insanely just wrong on your tort reform analysis, especially the crap about only the frivolous lawsuits pay out—don’t even know what that means. Anyway, nice blog. Haha


OLD Flipster

My (long winded) Response
Dear OLD Flipster,

As stated in that page, those were 'Opinions', it doesn't mean I'm necessarily right or wrong, but it does mean that it's what I think.

Just so you know, I've been on the 'victim' end of a lawsuit and they aren't the prettiest things in the world. Growing up my mom went to a chiropractor and when he was 'adjusting' her he caused a clot to form in her neck which then went into her brain and caused her to have a stroke. The stroke put her out of commission for about 3 months (slept for about 23 hours a day, and when awake couldn't really do or remember anything) when I was 11 years old. My dad took it really hard and was rarely home during that period. Meanwhile my brother (12) and I had to take care of our little sisters (5 and 2 years old), manage the household and didn't have time to play with our friends that summer. When our mom finally did start coming back to being her old self she had lost much of who she was, her once stellar memory was gone, and could no longer perform any higher level math skills. Beyond that my family went from making about $60k to hovering below the poverty line the following year until present. Our family was devastated by that incident, but we had to move on even though it was hard.

In a situation like that we of course sued the chiropractor, he had directly caused this stroke and it devastated one life and hampered many others. What did we get out of it? Basically nothing, it paid off the residual medical bills and put a couple grand in a 'college' account for us kids. The truth of the matter is, that while it would have been nice to get a huge payoff and be living it up in a new house and driving around in a car that wasn't given to us by a friend cause they felt sorry for how deeply in poverty we were, money would not fix the problem. The fact is that 'shit happens' to people all the time and you have to learn how to move on.

I see things like the recent case of a man not returning a finger to a guy because he wanted to get money out of a lawsuit and it makes me sick (story). Bad things are going to happen every day, but the fact that there are people out there racing to find a rich person/company and 'stick it to them' is pretty amoral. I can understand and am sympathetic to a few cases where people get big money from suits because they have life long and costly debilities as a result. But the truth is that the really big suits tend to be for things that are at least partially the fault of the individual (disassociation of responsibility for ones actions) and are almost always against a large firm. Those suits tend to be filed just so that an individual and their lawyer can profit. Most 'real' damages could be more than compensated for with a cap and it would eliminate pointless overages.

I do agree with you on some points: Some doctors should lose their licenses. While some things happen as the result of a genuine accident there are some doctors that should be stripped of their license (for example if they show up to work drunk, pass out during surgery and in the process slice the aorta killing a baby). But I am also of the opinion that too many lawyers are in law for all the wrong reasons. A great example of this is a friend of mine that just got admitted to law school. She was a speaker for a conference because she was one of 2 black women admitted to the class. While she was there she said that she wanted to do law so that she could help those in lower income brackets rise above the 'system' and help them to have better lives. She was laughed at and people considered her to be ignorant for only wanting to do law to help others. Pitiful.

My main opinion is this. Law-Makers tend to be lawyers. Lawyers make oodles of money off of suits (at least 30% off the top, plus other fees and charges). Law-Makers are the ones that decide whether or not we need Tort Reform. Those making laws are most likely to be hurt by any type of tort reform, that's why I believe reforms haven't happened long ago, there's an obvious conflict of interest. Tort Reform is by no means the only thing that's not being done because people are petty and politicians just do what reelects them. I wish we could do other things like overhaul the tax system, make changes to Social Security, increase the number of immigrants allowed per year, stop doing mass testing in schools, spend less on military campaigns and more on helping develop social networks, etc.

While some suits are necessary and help keep this world in balance, I think that many of the larger cases are pursued simply because a group of people sees a pot of gold. Meanwhile bad things happen to people all the time. There comes a point where you can decide to try to avenge your suffering or simply grow up and realize that you need to move on. And, face it, vengeance never truly satisfies, acceptance of what has occurred does. Tort Reform is not the key and never will be, but it is a temporary solution to a much larger problem, one that should be addressed but never will be. Companies need to respect individuals and individuals need to admit when they do retarded things and be willing to suffer the consequences of their actions.

Oh, and btw...people tend to be nice to you when you treat them nicely. Starting an argument with "your so called analysis...is the biggest pile of crap" is not really the best way to woo others into agreeing with you. Keep in mind too that even those we disagree with can be right on some issues. Limbaugh has some valid points that should be listened to, as does Barbara Boxer, as does the PLO, as does even Donald Rumsfeld. Just because we disagree with another's opinions doesn't mean the opinions are wrong...they may be more correct than our pride will let us admit.

I'm guessing that you're in law school right now, hence the desire to defend an issue that most lawyers are really against. If so, I wish you the best, and I hope you aren't doing it for the money. If you are doing it for the money, then I hope you will find another profession. People should do what they love, not necessarily what they think will earn them the most (granted they can sometimes coincide, and that's nice).

Otherwise great to hear from you, and I wish you all the best.
~Matt Otis

2 comments:

Andrea said...

tell us how you really feel

Michael said...

I bet I know who that flipster was...he still can't make a cogent argument.