Medical malpractice settlements are a double edged sword. The doctor, or other health care professional, has been sued. They are vulnerable and emotional – they are hurt that their patient or the patient’s family would sue them, angry that they have been sued, and scared that they could lose their professional liability insurance and/or their personal assets if they lose the case.
On June 28, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives passed medical tort reform legislation intended to help lower the cost of health insurance by lessening the financial burden of medical lawsuits. The House passed the Protecting Access to Care Act, H.R. 1215, which implements medical malpractice reform by capping plaintiff non-economic damages at $250,000 for a medical liability lawsuit related healthcare that was funded in any way by the federal government. Economic losses, like medical costs and lost wages, would be fully compensated under the Act.
In Evanston Insurance Co. v. Riseborough, the Illinois Supreme Court, in a divided opinion, declared that the six year statute of repose for attorneys in Illinois applies to anyone seeking to sue an attorney on any basis arising out of the attorney’s professional work. 5 N.E. 3d 158, 166-67 (Ill. 2014). This ruling cut a wide swath in circumscribing the rights of non-clients to sue attorneys for mistakes.
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When it comes to insurance coverage litigation, a key tool used in coverage disputes is the declaratory judgment action. Once an insurance company determines that a declaratory judgment action must be filed to determine insurance coverage under its policy, there are certain parties that must be named as defendants for the complaint to survive dismissal.
Justice Alito delivered the opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court on June 19, 2017 in Bristol-Myers Squibb Company v. Superior Court of California. The case concerned over 600 plaintiffs who brought suit in California state court against Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) alleging injuries from taking the drug Plavix. The vast majority of the plaintiffs were not California residents. The California Supreme Court concluded that California courts had specific jurisdiction to entertain the nonresident claims. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed the decision. This decision will have an impact on future mass tort litigation cases.
Every personal injury lawsuit has two areas of investigation: liability and damages. The majority of a claimant’s damages consist of medical treatment. Before insurance defense counsel can completely prepare for a claimant’s deposition, he or she must obtain an accurate picture of claimant’s medical history for the alleged injury.
A common workplace dispute involves dress code polices and deviations from dress and grooming standards. These disputes often result in a religious discrimination suit claiming violation of a protected religious expression.
An employer can be sued for a supervisor’s murder and rape of one of its employees, which took place while the employee was with the supervisor at an out-of-state wedding, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held in the recent case of Anicich v. Home Depot, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5202. The liability hinged on the supervisor’s authority over the victim. Even though the crimes took place outside of work hours and off the employer’s premises, the Seventh Circuit held that use of the supervisor’s supervisory authority was analogous to the use of the employer’s chattel off the premises.
New Mexico recently became the 48th state to enact a data breach notification law. On April 6, 2017, Governor Susana Martinez signed H.B. 15, New Mexico’s “Data Breach Notification Act” (the Act), into law. Currently, Alabama and South Dakota are the only states without a data breach notification law. The effective date of New Mexico’s Data Breach Notification Act is June 16, 2017.