I am so tired of trial lawyers being portrayed as the bad guy. I’m not a bad guy. The dedicated attorneys I work with aren’t bad guys. Yet trial lawyers are a consistent easy target for anyone with an ax to grind about the civil justice system.
Yesterday I blogged about the one-sided editorials appearing in the Baltimore Sun on the issue of medical malpractice. I pointed out how it appears The Sun went out of its way to target trial lawyers in a February 17, 2009 editorial about legislative efforts to increase the caps on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the Sun then printed a letter to the editor from a physician named Mark Haas that actually went after trial lawyers three different times in the same letter.
According to the Maryland Board of Physicians website, Dr. Haas has been licensed in Maryland since 1999 and graduated from medical school in 1982. My review of Maryland court records did not show that Dr. Haas has ever been sued for malpractice in this state. Unless Dr. Haas has been named as a defendant in some other state, it doesn’t appear that his views can be chalked up to being an unhappy litigant. So I cannot assign an easy motive to why Dr. Haas goes of his way to attack Maryland medical malpractice lawyers that don’t appear to have done anything to him.
Last time I checked, Hopkins docs weren’t exactly crowding the line at area soup kitchens. I would imagine that most professionals are compensated in a way that reflects their education and efforts, including Johns Hopkins pathologists as well as trial lawyers.
I don’t know why Dr. Haas hates trial lawyers so much, but I don’t have anything against doctors. However, I will not hesitate to file a lawsuit against any defendant who has negligently caused an injury. In my career, I have filed suits against doctors, other lawyers, police officers, and even a sitting judge on the District Court of Maryland. Dr. Haas’ bias stumps me, especially since he does not appear to be one of the doctors responsible for the bulk of malpractice claims.
When the first editorial was printed, I went to the Sun’s website and checked out the biographies of the editorial board. Peter Jensen, a member of the editorial board, says that it’s “easy to be against taxes, trial lawyers, or rabid dogs.” Now, I understand Peter was trying to say he likes to challenge conventional beliefs and was using taxes, trial lawyers, and rabid dogs as examples. But what does it say about the editorial board that at least one member thinks being opposed to trial lawyers is a conventional societal belief? Is this how we end up with an editorial and a letter to the editor printed in The Sun espousing the perceived societal belief that trial lawyers are something to be opposed?
The Sun Bounces Back
Today the Sun evened the score a little, printing a letter with a more even-handed view (link has since been removed). Robert Oshel pointed out in his letter that the solution to rising malpractice rates is less malpractice, not limiting victim compensation. He correctly points out that a small minority of practicing physicians is responsible for the lion’s share of malpractice claims. I would like to see the medical profession devote the energy it uses for attacking trial lawyers to self-policing. No matter what your views are about the legal profession, I think anyone would agree that fewer victims are a sure-fire way to reduce malpractice claims and insurance rates.
Until there are no more negligent doctors causing injuries, our Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers will continue trying to help injured victims.