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Articles & Issues

CASD is an organization of trial lawyers in San Diego County who work to preserve and protect the legal rights of all consumers.  Below are articles and information revealing The Whole Story, explaining not only how the civil justice system protects and preserves the legal rights of every American, but also how that system is consistently under attack by powerful special interest groups seeking to limit those rights for their own political and financial gain.

 

Topic Area

 

Brief Article Summaries
 

Articles are listed under the main categories appearing below.  Click on the category name for a list of articles in each section.

Arbitration
Class Actions
General Insurance Issues
Medical Malpractice
Products Liability
Punitive Damages
Tort Reform/Myths of Lawsuit Abuse

 

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Arbitration

Mandatory Arbitration:  The Next Attack on Consumer Rights

Mandatory arbitration clauses, buried in fine print that few lawyers or judges even understand, are proliferating in contracts for just about every product and service, from cell phones to health care.  This article provides information about how those clauses are increasingly used to limit consumer rights without their consent, and to deny consumers access to the civil justice system.    Click here to read The Whole Story.

Groups Launch Nationwide Effort to Stop Use of Binding
Mandatory Arbitration Clauses


A coalition of public interest groups has launched a nationwide effort to raise consumer awareness to the proliferation of mandatory arbitration clauses and the injustice they impose on the unwary consumer.   Click here
to read The Whole Story.

Class Actions

The Truth About Class Actions

When a large number of consumers are injured in the same way by the same misconduct, class actions are the only mechanism which ensures that wrongdoers are held fully accountable for their actions.  So-called class action "reform" is intended only to weaken that mechanism and to leave victims of widespread negligence, fraud and reckless misconduct without a meaningful remedy.     Click here to read The Whole Story.

Successful Class Actions in State Court

Examples of how class actions have preserved and advanced public safety abound.   
Click here  to read The Whole Story.

General Insurance Issues

What is No-Fault Auto Insurance?

A brief explanation of no-fault insurance plans and how they differ from the tort system where negligent drivers are held responsible.    Click here  for The Whole Story.

Comparison of Tort System and No Fault

This fact sheet gives a quick comparison of the limits of recovery under a no-fault system, and the full rights and recoveries preserved under a tort system of responsibility.    Click here  to view The Whole Story.

The Fault With The New England Journal of Medicine's
No-Fault Insurance Report

A now infamous April 2000 article in The New England Journal of Medicine declared that eliminating health insurance benefits makes people well.  That counterintuitive proposition has since been rebuked by scores of responsible scientists, and one of the article's authors has been sued by a former colleague who accuses him of manipulating data to reach certain results.   Click here to get The Whole Story.

Medical Malpractice

Not enough being done to curb medical errors. 

Five years after The Institute of Medicine's landmark report showing how as many as 98,000 deaths per year in the United States are caused by preventable medical errors, recent research confirms that medical errors are still on the rise.   Click here  for The Whole Story.

Medical Errors Still A Leading Cause of Death in the United States

In its second annual report on patient safety, HealthGrades asserts that the healthcare industry has stagnated in its efforts to reduce medical errors since The Institute of Medicine (IOM) first reported in 2000 on the high incidence of such errors.   Click here for The Whole Story.

Physician Medical Malpractice Payments:
Evidence from the National Practitioner Data Bank

Despite the hue and cry about the effect of malpractice claims on malpractice insurance rates paid by physicians, data from the physician-oriented National Practitioner Data Bank has confirmed that medical malpractice premiums increased only slightly over the last ten years, and amount to less than 0.3 % of all national healthcare spending.  Researchers analyzing that data also conclude that malpractice claims were only weakly connected to premium increases, while rising medical costs were substantially responsible for those increases.    Click here   for The Whole Story.

Confidentiality Kills

Although 98,000 people are killed every year by medical mistakes, much of the information regarding those deaths remains shrouded in secrecy, while some healthcare providers argue there is not enough confidentiality.  Under the current system, consumers can learn more information about the refrigerator they wish to purchase than they can about their surgeon.  Buried mistakes do nothing to improve patient care.  Only changing the current culture of confidentiality will. Click here  to read The Whole Story.

Insurance Industry Admits Caps Won't Work

Despite the spin they produce for public consumption, in the words of insurance industry executives themselves, capping non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases will not reduce medical malpractice premiums for doctors.   Click here to reveal The Whole Story.

How Insurance Reform Lowered Doctors' Medical Malpractice Rates in California And How Malpractice Caps Failed

AAs documented in a report by The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, a 1988 California insurance reform initiative (Proposition 103), and not the state's 1975 malpractice law, is the reason California's doctors' medical malpractice premiums have dropped and stabilized over the last 14 years.  Click here  to get The Whole Story.

Medical Malpractice Insurers' Profits are Booming

Insurance premiums for doctors, small businesses and families are on the rise for the same reason:  insurance companies continue to charge outrageously high premiums for decreased coverage, and in the process, reap outrageously high profits at the expense of the American healthcare system.    Click here for The Whole Story.

The Medical Malpractice "Crisis" Keeps Coming Back

Every ten years or so, a medical malpractice insurance "crisis" is created, with insurance industry-backed advocates arguing that "crisis" necessitates arbitrary caps on jury awards and limitations on rights of malpractice victims.  Tellingly, never do they commit to restrictions on the insurance premiums they charge, even where those damages caps are enacted.   Click here for The Whole Story.

Medical Board of California Posting Doctors' History Online

The Medical Board of California has started posting accusations and disciplinary actions against doctors on their website.  The website is expected to have nearly 15,000 documents online within a year, which will have information on thousands of licensed doctors in California.  Physicians decry that the information is one-sided because they cannot justify the reasoning behind some of their actions.   Click here    to read The Whole Story.

Products Liability

Cases That Have Made Families Safer

Thanks to America's civil justice system and citizen jurors, families and children are now safer than ever.      Click here for The Whole Story.

Product Liability Makes Products Safer

America's product liability laws are a powerful warning to even the most audacious wrongdoers that they cannot market and sell products which injure or kill consumers and expect to get away with it.  Indeed, many safety changes occur only after wrongdoers are held accountable in our civil justice system.   Click here for The Whole Story.

America's Civil Justice System Enhances Competitiveness

Critics working to dismantle the civil justice system argue that liability litigation hurts the American economy and its ability to compete in the global marketplace. Not a single fact supports such a claim.   Click here. to reveal The Whole Story.

How the Civil Justice System Uncovers the Truth for Consumers

Before journalists wrote about it, before NHTSA investigated it, before Congress was concerned about it, the civil justice system was working to unveil the truth about tire tread separation tragedies.  Click here to learn more about The Whole Story.

Limits on Damages Affect Low-Income Plaintiffs More Than High-Income Plaintiffs

So-called product liability "reform" legislation would severely impact low-income Americans by limiting or altogether prohibiting damages in claims which the courts find to be meritorious. Click here to read The Whole Story on previously proposed provisions, and how they would affect the poor.  

Punitive Damages

Some Simple Truths About Punitive Damages

While tort "reform" advocates claim that punitive awards are out of control, a study by the U.S. Department of Justice sets the record straight.  Punitive damages, awarded in cases where the defendant's misconduct has been found to be "willful and malicious," aren't awarded as widely as tort 'reformers' would have the public believe.   Click here to get The Whole Story.

Punitive Damage Awards Guarantee Public Safety -- Cases That Made A Difference

Punitive damages awards bring accountability to the free market without additional government regulation or interference by providing an economic incentive for corporations to remove dangerous products from the marketplace.   Click here to get The Whole Story..

Punitive Damages Caps are Unnecessary 

Caps on punitive damages are routine in proposals to rewrite state tort law, whether for product liability, medical malpractice, or any other area of law.  Yet, compelling evidence shows that these damages are rarely awarded in tort cases and are generally proportionate to the injuries suffered.  As such, caps on punitive damages are an unnecessary intrusion into a legal area best handled on the state level, and which is already effectively addressed by the courts.   Click here for The Whole Story.

Tort Reform & the Myths of Lawsuit Abuse

"False Alarm: How the media helps the insurance industry and the GOP promote the myth of America's 'lawsuit crisis'"

The myth of a lawsuit "crisis" has been manufactured by special interest groups and propagated by politicians to serve their own political agendas.  But that myth cannot withstand scrutiny, as demonstrated in an article written by Stephanie Mencimer in 2004 for Washington Monthly.   Click here to get The Whole Story.

Imaginary Cases & Urban Legends: The Stella Awards Debunked

The "Stella Awards" is a collection of urban legends and fake legal cases designed to perpetuate the myth that there is a 'lawsuit crisis' in America.  Those who desire to limit the legal rights of consumers for their own financial gain have been circulating these make-believe cases for years, using fake examples with the hope of undermining public confidence in the civil justice system.  .  Click here  for The Whole Story.

What Really Happened in that Famous "McDonald's Case''

Nearly ten years later, critics of our civil justice system continue to mock Stella Liebeck and the McDonald's coffee case, calling it "frivolous" and "laughable."  But not many Americans know that it was McDonald's own testimony and flagrant disregard for the safety of its customers that led a jury to rule against it.  And Stella's injuries - which included third degree burns across her groin, inner thighs, and buttocks - were no laughing matter.   Click here to discover The Whole Story.

Real Frivolous Lawsuits in America are Businesses Suing Businesses

Civil justice restrictions advocated in Congress cut-off the rights of consumers injured or killed by negligence and faulty products.  They do nothing to curb the truly ridiculous lawsuits filed each year by businesses against each other  Click here to learn about The Whole Story.

Truth About the Civil Justice System

Supporters of so-called tort "reform" bills in Congress claim that too many lawsuits have led to excessive costs and delays.  They also charge that juries can no longer be trusted to render fair verdicts.  But the truth belies these assertions, and undermines their credibility.  Tort "reformers" seek only to gut our system's ability to force wrongdoers to change their harmful conduct.   Click here. for The Whole Story.

Tort Reform: Taking Away David's Sling

Tort "reform" is meant to do one thing only:  to deprive average Americans access to the only weapon they have - the civil justice system - if they are injured by another's conduct.  Imagine taking away David's sling and giving it to Goliath.  Now you understand tort "reform."    Click here  for The Whole Story.

Lawyer  Contingent Fees Are Essential for Access to Justice

The American Bar Association Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section created a special task force in September 2003 to evaluate contingent fees and practices and proposals for their reform.  Their conclusion?  Contingent fees are an essential component to the preservation of an individual's right to access to the civil justice system.   Click here. to reveal The Whole Story.

The November Fund

By Todd Smith
President, Association of Trial Lawyer of America

Find out what special interests are backing the November Fund, and why they are against seniors getting low-cost prescription drugs from Canada.   Click here to reveal The Whole Story.

Justice Under Attack

By Kerry Hoxie, Esq., Trial Bar News Editor-in-Chief

Our civil justice system and the dedicated people who work within that system are under constant attack, with the goal of curtailing and eliminating the rights of every American  Click here to learn about The Whole Story.