Congress / Legislative

Report: Medical Malpractice Insurers More Profitable Than Top Fortune 500 Companies

AAJ has released a report today finding that by systematically distorting profits and losses, medical malpractice insurers have created phony malpractice insurance “crises” so lawmakers would consider limiting the legal rights of injured patients. This report comes just in time as the U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on an extreme medical liability bill (H.R. 5) this week.

This week: Congress Must Protect Rights of Patients

The Institute of Medicine found that 98,000 people die every year because of preventable medical errors and hundreds of thousands more are injured. If Congress wants to get serious about improving patient care, they should get serious about patient safety, not taking away patients’ legal rights. H.R. 5, which is set to be voted on this week in the U.S. House of Representatives, would impose a one-size-fits all cap on non-economic damages that injured patients can seek.

Proponents of H.R. 5 should remember that this issue is about real patients – like Caroline Palmer of Marietta, Georgia, who is just one of the many Americans injured from preventable medical errors.

Constitutional Conservatives: Federal Tort Reform Violates States’ Rights and the 10th Amendment

A variety of news outlets have reported that next week the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on a bill (H.R. 5) that would decimate the legal rights of patients injured by medical negligence, nursing home abuse, or defective drugs and devices.  While many Democrats have announced their opposition to the bill, there is also a chorus of Republican elected officials and conservative scholars that see this bill as a massive federal government overreach.  Below are some of the top conservative voices leading the charge against federal medical liability legislation.

Stanford Law Professor Calls on Congress to Act on Forced Arbitration

Stanford University law and legal history professor Amalia D. Kessler penned an op-ed in today’s New York Times on corporations inserting abusive, take-it-or-leave-it forced arbitration clauses into consumer and employee contracts as a tool to avoid accountability.

Senate takes on passenger safety on cruise ships

Today, the Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing entitled “Oversight of the Cruise Ship Industry: Are current regulations sufficient to protect passengers and the environment?”

Cruise Industry Questioned on Passengers' Legal Rights

Today, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation held a hearing on the cruise industry’s current safety and environmental regulations and what lessons could be learned from the Costa Concordia accident in Italy earlier this year.

Congress must address device manufacturer immunity to keep patients safe

Tomorrow Congress will hear from the FDA, the medical device industry and health care professionals on the current medical device approval process. The House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Health is holding a hearing entitled “Reauthorization of Medical Device User Fee Act (MDUFA): What It Means for Jobs, Innovation and Patients.”

NYT shines light on ALEC and The Big Money Behind State Laws

For years, AAJ has been following the shady backroom dealings of the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  AAJ released a report in May 2010 detailing how ALEC has been ghostwriting the law for big business on behalf of oil, drug, asbestos and insurance interests.

Public Pressure Leads to Carlyle Dropping Forced Arbitration Clause

The American Association for Justice (AAJ) has long fought to prohibit corporations from avoiding accountability by hiding forced arbitration clauses in the fine print of consumer and employee contracts.  When Bloomberg broke the story that Carlyle was attempting to take away investors’ rights by including a forced arbitration clause in its proposed IPO filing, AAJ raised concerns with the SEC and brought awareness to the issue.

The media coverage that followed and the news on Friday that Carlyle dropped the forced arbitration clause shows that now more than ever, "the public cares and public scrutiny matters." 

Limit Feres to protect the rights of military families

In his latest column for The Atlantic, Andrew Cohen provides additional commentary on the expansion of the Feres doctrine by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Florida, as reported last week by The Military Times.