Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Debate re malpractice and health reform

Here is a link to an article by Richard Epstein advocating for medical malpractice tort reform. For a response arguing that "[i]f you use a false premise to substantiate an argument then the result will be worthless. And that is exactly what University of Chicago law professor Richard A. Epstein does...", go here. For good sources of information on the medical malpractice "crisis" debate you can check out Tom Baker's book "The Medical Malpractice Myth" (here) and Public Citizen's report "The Great Medical Malpractice Hoax" (here).

Yet another update on the GM bankruptcy

Full story here.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Breaking news re GM and products liability

Public Citizen just posted a note stating that "a number of news sources are reporting that the GM bankruptcy sale agreement has been amended to assure that the new company emerging from bankruptcy will be liable for product liability claims." If has a link to a New York Times story that reportedly states: "General Motors and the Obama administration have reached a deal for the carmaker to assume responsibility for product liability claims filed after it emerges from bankruptcy as a new company, even those claims involving vehicles made by the old company, according to documents filed in bankruptcy court late Friday."

Friday, June 26, 2009

GM/Chrysler bankruptcy debate continues

In an article available here, the Pop Tort blog is reporting that, according to The Wall Street Journal , “President Barack Obama's auto task force is considering a plan that would allow those injured in past or future accidents involving GM vehicles to sue the auto maker in state courts after the company emerges from bankruptcy protection…The auto task force has been caught off guard by the recent outcry from attorneys general and consumer groups.” Thanks to the Pop Tort blog for the following video on the subject from NBCChicago.com (note that there is a short commercial before the actual report starts).

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcchicago.com/video.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Even more on GM/Chrysler

The PopTort Blog is reporting today that a new report concludes that 3400 Americans will be injured or killed by defective GM/Chrysler cars just during the year after the bankruptcy. Full story here.

Monday, June 22, 2009

More on the Chrysler/GM bankruptcy

Here is another update on the story regarding the GM/Chrysler bankruptcy from The PopTort (here).

Chrysler/GM bankruptcy and tort law

For The PopTort Blog coverage of the Chrysler/GM bankruptcy plans' which would effectively immunize both companies from lawsuits should defects in the “old” pre-bankruptcy Chrysler GM/vehicles injure or kill people here, here, here and here.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Most interesting stories this week

It's Friday, which means it's time for the lists of the most interesting stories for this week. For the TortProf Blog's list go here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Did Eli Lilly market drug knowing it was ineffective?

Bloomberg.com is reporting that Eli Lilly & Co. urged doctors to prescribe Zyprexa for elderly patients with dementia, an unapproved use for that particular drug, even though the drugmaker had evidence the medicine didn’t work for such patients, according to unsealed internal company documents. The full story is available here. Commenting on the story, The PopTort has posted a short comment that starts as follows (links are in the original): "A group of insurers is currently enmeshed in a nasty legal tussle with drug giant Eli Lilly over the company’s illegal “off label” marketing of the anti-psychotic drug, Zyprexa. If you’re having déjà vu about now, that’s probably because the company has been in similar trouble before, downplaying the fact that the drug could cause significant weight gain and diabetes, while employing a variety of nefarious tactics to convince doctors to prescribe the stuff to elderly people to help alleviate dementia, sleep troubles and irritability (even though it knew the drug didn’t work for those conditions)." The PopTort blog article goes on to quote an email exchange, within Eli Lilly which shows its intent to stop studying Zyprexa’s potential risks for elderly people "because doing so would risk “killing the goose that lays the golden eggs....” The Pop Tort blog comment is available here.

More on Obama admnistration approach to med-mal tort reform

Following up on my post regarding possible tort reform efforts by the Obama administration regarding medical malpractice in an attempt to get support for health care reform, here are a few links with more information: The PopTort blog has a comment, available here, which cites (and provides links to) other sources also. Among them, they cite Politico which is quoted as stating that “Obama’s rhetoric on medical liability was ... vague and innocuous ..." The TortsProf blog provides the following links: New York Times, WSJ Law Blog, CBS News Political Hotsheet, Associated Press, and NY Times Op-Ed. The ABA Journal.com has a short comment here in which they point out the obvious response to the President's apparent attempt to gain support health care reform by suggesting tort reform: "[C]utting medical malpractice awards . . . would do little to reduce the $2.3 trillion yearly cost of health care in the United States" and, citing a Harvard University economist, “No serious economist thinks that saving money in med mal is the way to improve productivity in the system. There’s so many other sources of inefficiency.”

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Obama to propose medical malpractice reform?

President Obama will speak to the American Medical Association on Monday and there is speculation that he will support some form of medical malpractice reform. This would be a terrible blow to opponents of tort reform, but unfortunately it would not be terribly suprising. Obama supported malpractice caps in Illinois in the past. Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Shell settles Alien Tort Statute claim

About a month ago, I reported that Wiwa v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, a case filed under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) and the Torture Victim Protection Act alleging that Shell recruited Nigerian police and military to attack villages and crush opposition to the company's development in the region was set to go to trial. Two days ago, on the eve of trial, Shell has agreed to pay $15.5 million to settle the claims. For the full story on Law.com go here. According to a story in the Chicago Daily Bulletin, Shell, which continues to operate in Nigeria, acknowledged no wrongdoing, claimed it had no part in the violence that took placer and eportedly stated that it agreed to settle the lawsuit in the hope of aiding the "process of reconciliation."

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Most interesting stories this week

I was away last Friday so this post is a little late, but here it is... For the TortProf Blog's list of the most interesting stories for last week go here.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Exams and vacation

You may have noticed I have not been posting any news recently. I have been busy trying to finish grading final exams and tomorrow I am taking a few days off to take our kids to visit their grandfather who lives several states away... This means I will be away from the computer for a little while longer, but I will come back with interesting stories, news and comments soon.