Judges to doctors’ rescue?

by Walter Olson on May 25, 2008

Well, at least some doctors are hoping to discern such a trend on the strength of two data points: the case Ted has covered in which the Ohio Supreme Court struck down a $30 million verdict because of the shenanigans of attorney Geoffrey Fieger, and a Michigan case from March in which an appeals court overturned a $500,000 verdict against a Flint doctor and ordered a new trial. In the latter case the appeals court “noted the trial judge ‘valiantly and repeatedly attempted’ to restrain Konheim [Southfield, Mich., plaintiff attorney Joseph Konheim]. ‘There is a point, however, when an attorney’s deliberate misbehavior becomes so repetitive and egregious that it necessarily impacts the jury, notwithstanding the judge’s efforts. That point was reached here,’ the unanimous opinion states. It also says that Konheim belittled witnesses on the stand and made ‘irrelevant’ and ‘disparaging’ statements that diverted the jury’s attention from the case’s merits. Konheim is asking the court to reconsider.” (Amy Lynn Sorrel, “Lawyers’ misconduct triggers new liability trials”, AMedNews (AMA), May 5).

{ 3 comments }

1 Supremacy Claus 05.25.08 at 8:15 am

The fact that 75% of medmal cases are weak is the fault of biased, pro-litigation judges.

The defense bar needs the trial to make a living. The plaintiff bar needs the extortion lottery to make a living. The judge needs their campaign contributions. They don’t care about the damage done to the defendants nor to the public who pays for this waste many times over.

2 Christopher Eckel 05.25.08 at 9:30 am

Why should the defendent have to bear the agony and expense of a repeat trial when it was the plaintiff’s lawyer’s malpractice which spoiled the first one? Doctors are routinely sued for events outside of their control for millions. When there is legal malpractice so obvious that even a judge can recognize it, the plaintiff’s lawyer should pay the judgement.

Otherwise, it appears as though the only consequence of legal malpractice is a “do over”.

I am sure doctors would like that approach. Cerebral palsy baby? Next delivery is free!

Don’t you think the bad behevior would stop if the plaitiff’s lawyer was on the hook for the plaitiffs so-called damages in the event of a mistrial? It might even give the lawyers a new, more realistic, view of what the plaintiff’s damages were if he might be at risk for those same damages if a judge decided he was unfair.

Better yet, let’s have a second trial so a jury of retired postal workers can determine if the trial lawyer was fair or not? Trial lawyers love how generous juries are giving out money, don’t they. I wonder how they will feel if jury had the right to give away their money.

3 OBQuiet 05.25.08 at 12:39 pm

CE,

You beat me to it.

This whole,” I misbehave so we get a do over” thing makes it possible for a weak case to drain a defendant of time and money over and over. It could even become part of the plaintiff strategy. Things seem to be going bad, be such a jerk that you force a mistrial and get a chance to waste more of the defendant’s and courts time.

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