MACM: Mississippi Doesn't Need More Medical Malpractice Tort Reform
side note: The below article is very interesting in the fact that Mississippi’s largest medical malpractice insurer, Medical Assurance Company of Mississippi (MACM), has gone on the record as saying the state does not need additional tort reforms. That’s right, a medical malpractice insurance company is saying no more tort reform is necessary.
Specifically, the article discusses the Texas “loser pays” tort reform passed earlier this year. Texas Gov. Rick Perry strengthened his state’s 2003 tort reforms by signing into law House Bill 274 (HB 274), a series of reforms intended to expedite the resolution of lawsuits and discourage plaintiffs from filing non-meritorious actions. The new law went into effect Sept. 1, 2011, and applies to all lawsuits filed after that date.
HB 274 allows a defendant to move for dismissal of a case before discovery is underway. While the rules governing such dismissal have yet to be written (the law tasks the Texas Supreme Court with developing them), the legislature has provided some guidance. The dismissal must be in response to a motion filed by a party, and in contrast to earlier rules requiring a defendant to allow “adequate time for discovery” before filing a no-evidence motion for summary judgment, now no evidence is needed for a motion to dismiss. Dismissal is warranted for cases “without basis in law or fact,” and the trial court must rule on the motion within 45 days. The decision on whether to file a pre-discovery motion to dismiss will be affected by provisions allowing the prevailing party in such a motion to recover costs and reasonable attorney fees from the losing party. Thus, if a plaintiff files a lawsuit without basis in law or fact, and the defendant obtains dismissal, the plaintiff must pay the defendant’s costs and reasonable attorney fees.
While Mississippi’s republican party is enthusiastically pushing for similar “loser pays” legislation in its state, Mississippi’s largest medical malpractice insurer, MACM, points to the 73-percent decrease in the number of medical malpractice lawsuits as a reason not to tinker with the state’s tort system. In fact, MACM president and CEO is quoted as saying, “Our rates have gone down dramatically,” and that “It would be hard for me to argue more tort reform is needed. We’re content with what we have.”
When is the last time you heard a medical malpractice insurer say something like that?
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — On the campaign trail for president, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has bragged his state’s new “loser pays” law goes a long way to telling “trial lawyers to get out of your state.”