But really, Feinberg picked up the phone that day for the same reason Americans yield to their instinct to give money to those felled by spectacularly unkind fates: He felt helpless but wanted to help, and his version of helping was to volunteer for one of the worst jobs in the world. Hagel placed a call to Attorney General John Ashcroft, and after a series of backroom discussions, Ashcroft appointed Feinberg the special master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, working pro bono, as he almost always does on behalf of the dead. That work and the work that has followed it, his growing collection of aftermaths, have changed him. He has become smarter, humbler, more acute, more uniquely fitted to his task. Virginia Tech, the Deepwater Horizon, Newtown, Boston—he managed each of those horrors, and each was managed better because of what he has learned. But all of them were shaped, because he was shaped, by September 11.Kenneth Feinberg: The Nation's Leading Expert in Picking up the Pieces [more inside]
“Watching the video I thought that it was wise of Major League Baseball to combine this sort of sentimental moment with mass speculative litigation. It kept brand values strong. I felt strangely grateful that I could have a moment to remember that afternoon. Surprised by the evidence of both copyright violation and father-daughter affection.” —Paul Ford, “Nanolaw with Daughter” [more inside]
Hot Coffee, a documentary film by Susan Saladoff, debuted at Sundance to considerably more enthusiasm than one would expect for a film about tort reform. [more inside]
Medical Malpractice Myth explores the idea that it's not litigious patients, ambulance chasing lawyers and runaway juries behind the rising costs of medical malpractice insurance. It's the increasing occurrence of medical malpractice that's driving those insurance rates up.
You park, they pay NYC Port Authority found negligent by having parking under WTC. Jury finds terrorists 32% responsible for exploding van there in 1993. 400 plaintiffs seek $1.8 billion, NYCPA will have to pay 100% of the damages that might be awarded.
It seems likely that we'll be hearing a lot more about tort reform, especially medical malpractice tort reform, over the next couple years. Sadly, many don't even know exactly what a tort is, let alone how the tort system works, although most have heard about individual lawsuits through the media. Conservatives tend to focus on capping damages, reigning in juries, and allowing businesses to contract out of tort liability. Liberals generally oppose these proposals, and some have a few ideas about reform as well. Of course, we could always follow the example of New Zealand and scrap the tort system altogether. Maybe the Supreme Court will give the GOP some suggestions about reform in their latest tort case.