Modern Day Tort "Reform"

Once upon a time, tort “reform” consisted of asking legislatures for protections and immunities from suits by capping damage awards on the most badly injured of people, so that responsibility shifts from the person/company that did the deed onto the victims to fend for themselves.

That’s fading away. This is what the new tort “reform” looks like for drug makers:

First, ghostwrite “research” that goes out under the name of private doctors;

Second, use the research to get FDA approval for your product, or hide contrary information from the overworked, underfunded FDA;

Third, use FDA approval to scream for immunity from lawsuits under the doctrine of preemption.

Fourth: Find anecdotes of lawyers doing dumb things, like suing for $54M for a pair of pants, to support the theory that the problem is plaintiffs lawyers, and have the Big Business lobbying arms use it for all its worth to distract from the issues. Remember, blame the plaintiffs’ lawyers, no matter what you have done wrong.

Update 4/17/08: Why is this so effective? Because preemption is a concept understood by less than 1% of the general population. Our elections are about more important things, like what kind of lapel pin a candidate wears.


Comments are closed.

The New York Personal Injury Law Blog is sponsored by its creator, Eric Turkewitz of The Turkewitz Law Firm. The blog might be considered a form of attorney advertising in accordance with New York rules going into effect February 1, 2007 (22 NYCRR 1200.1, et. seq.) As of July 14, 2008, became an advertiser, as you can see in the sidebar. does not control the editorial content of the blog in any way.

Throughout the blog as it develops, you may see examples of cases we have handled, or cases from others, that are used for illustrative purposes. Since all cases are different, and legal authority may change from year to year, it is important to remember that prior results in any particular case do not guarantee or predict similar outcomes with respect to any future matter, including yours, in which any lawyer or law firm may be retained.

Some of the commentary may be become outdated. Some might be a minority opinion, or simply wrong. No reader should consider this site (or any other) to be authoritative, and if a legal issue is presented, the reader should contact an attorney of his or her own choosing for advice.

Finally, we are not responsible for the comments of others that may be added to this site.