COLUMBUS — A secretive business-friendly group with ties to ex-JobsOhio boss Mark Kvamme is pouring money into the re-election campaign of Judith French, the Supreme Court Justice  who wrote the opinion that tossed out a constitutional challenge to JobsOhio. American Freedom Builders, a tax-exempt organization that does not have to reveal its donors,  is paying for a new TV ad in the hotly contested high court race. Kvamme headed JobsOhio and  served on its board, until he stepped down in 2012.

“This controversy explains why we must have laws that require the public to know who is paying for expensive campaign commercials. Voters should be able to follow the money so that they can consider the source of information,’’ said Sam Gresham, Chair of Common Cause Ohio. “Mr. Kvamme: Where is the money coming and why have you been so unwilling to answer  questions about it?’’

JobsOhio is the public-private economic development group lawmakers created at the behest  of Ohio’s Republican Gov. John Kasich.  ProgressOhio filed the constitutional challenge to JobsOhio, and the case received support from  both political parties.

Read the whole press release here:

Supreme Court – press release on Justice Backstop 2014

Nobody expects doctors and hospitals to be perfect.  But we do expect them to act carefully and reasonably in caring for us and our family.   And like each of us, if they do not act carefully and reasonably, they are accountable for any harm caused by their actions.   If a medical mistake hurt you or your family, those responsible for the harm must be held accountable. And someone needs to make them make it right.  That’s where the right lawyer comes in.  Cases which involve harm caused by medical mistakes are commonly referred to as medical malpractice cases.

In Ohio, to succeed in a medical malpractice case you must prove that an injury  was caused  from a medical professional’s  failure to act carefully and reasonably under the circumstances.  This includes an error in  treatment, a failure to timely or correctly diagnose an illness or condition, a delay in treatment among other things.

If that isn’t  complicated enough,  there are strict (and quite short) time limits by which you must file a lawsuit or you miss the chance to seek redress for the harm caused by any medical errors.  Once you hire a lawyer to file timely file your case,, there are other issues to navigate.

Ohio law has a cap on damages  caused by medical errors that restricts the  amount an injured person can recover no matter the severity of the harm.  These caps are complicated.  Damages are what you’re seeking in a medical malpractice case but there are several different kinds of damages at stake in a case. Payment of medical bills and lost wages are compensatory damages. These are numbers that are easily calculated and there are no caps for these kinds of damages.

Pain and suffering are phrases most people recognize. These non-economic damages cover exactly that, what you went through as a result of the medical error(s). This is where caps come into play and where the calculation is not easy or clear cut and where a seasoned lawyer can really be of benefit to you.

There’s also damages intended to punish the medical profession for behavior that is reckless and results in injury or damage. These are punitive damages and they are capped in direct relation to the compensatory damages you may be awarded.

Winning isn’t the only thing, it’s just a part of the help you need when taking on the medical establishment because being made whole for what happened to you is really what it comes down to.  That’s what we strive for at Leeseberg & Valentine, making sure that when we win for you we have made sure that you are going to be taken care of and can live with what happened to you at the hands of the medical profession, people we trust because we have to but that we know aren’t perfect.

Once again, Medical Malpractice Lawyers Gerald Leeseberg and Anne Valentine have been selected as two of the Best Lawyers in America  for Personal Injury Litigation for 2014. This honor marks the 17th consecutive year Mr. Leeseberg has been granted such distinction, and the 11th straight year for Ms. Valentine. Both continue to prove themselves as consistent and dedicated members of the legal community and this recognition is certainly deserved.

Selection of Best Lawyers is based on an exhaustive and rigorous peer-review survey comprised of more than 4 million confidential evaluations by the top attorneys in the country.  The annual Best Lawyers publication has been described by The American Lawyer as “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.” Because no fee or purchase is required, being listed in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor.

Leeseberg and Valentine focus their practice on representing those injured by medical malpractice and the negligence of others. Their work as medical malpractice lawyerswrongful death lawyers, and personal injury lawyers continues to be recognized and we are proud to congratulate Mr. Leeseberg and Ms. Valentine on being selected by their peers for inclusion in the 2014 Best Lawyers of America listing.

For more information on the Best Lawyers in America listing, please visit Best Lawyers’ Website.

September 20, 2014, Los Angeles Times,  by Michael Hiltzik

Tort reform,” which is usually billed as the answer to “frivolous malpractice lawsuits,” has been a central plank in the Republican program for healthcare reform for decades.

The notion has lived on despite copious evidence that that the so-called defensive medicine practiced by doctors merely to stave off lawsuits accounts for, at best, 2% to 3% of U.S. healthcare costs. As for ”frivolous lawsuits,” they’re a problem that exists mostly in the minds of conservatives and the medical establishment.

A new study led by Michael B. Rothberg of the Cleveland Clinic and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association aimed to measure how much defensive medicine there is, really, and how much it costs. The researchers’ conclusion is that defensive medicine accounts for about 2.9% of healthcare spending. In other words, out of the estimated $2.7-trillion U.S. healthcare bill, defensive medicine accounts for $78 billion.

As Aaron Carroll observes at the AcademyHealth blog, $78 billion is “not chump change … but it’s still a very small component of overall health care spending.” Any “tort reform” stringent enough to make that go away would likely create other costs, such as a rise in medical mistakes generated by the elimination of the oversight exercised by the court system.

Since it doesn’t appear that “tort reform” would have any effect on this spending, Carroll says, “there seems little reason to pursue it as a means to dramatically reduce health care spending in the United States.”

The prevalence of defensive medicine may be overestimated by doctors themselves, Rothberg and his colleagues found, because many procedures are ordered in part defensively, but partially or mostly for legitimate diagnostic or therapeutic reasons. “Tort reform” would only eliminate orders made purely because of fear of litigation — that is, 100% defensively — and that’s a tiny percentage of the total.

Tort reform has seldom been about reducing healthcare spending. For Republicans, it’s about de-funding a bloc of reliable Democratic Party supporters — trial lawyers.

That’s why the suppression of malpractice lawsuits has remained part of Republican and conservative orthodoxy despite the evidence that its impact on healthcare spending would be minimal. Even in conservative healthcare pundit Avik Roy’s supposedly objective proposed alternative to the Affordable Care Act (which we examined here), malpractice “reform” retains its pride of place.

Roy acknowledges the findings that defensive medicine accounts for only 2% to 3% of spending, but writes, “nonetheless, reform is warranted.” He asserts, curiously, that “the U.S. health care system is uniquely vulnerable to frivolous malpractice lawsuits.” But if the numbers don’t validate that claim, what does?

The minimal impact of defensive medicine on healthcare costs demonstrates the injustice of the stringent limits on malpractice lawsuits advocated by doctors, insurance companies and Republican policymakers.

As we’ve pointed out in the past, “pain-and-suffering” damage caps and other stratagems to discourage malpractice lawsuits benefit mostly insurers. Their impact falls disproportionately on women and families with infants, because their economic damages, which remain subject to jury awards, are hard to estimate and typically underestimated.

As for “frivolous lawsuits,” defined as cases that should never have been brought at all, they’re a lot rarer than most tort reform advocates admit. Studies have documented that the vast majority of them don’t yield a payment to the plaintiff. The converse is a bigger problem — genuinely injured patients who can’t get redress because the courthouse doors have been shut to them. The victims there are often lower-income or unemployed patients.

The quintessential tort reform law is California’s MICRA, to the state’s shame. The Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act capped noneconomic and nonmedical damages in malpractice to $250,000 in 1975. Inflation has eroded that sum to the equivalent today of about $57,000 in 1975 dollars.

To have retained its value, the MICRA limit would have to be raised to about $1.1 million today. That’s the goal of Proposition 46 on the November ballot. Even though the MICRA increase has been yoked to a silly plan for drug testing of doctors, it’s worth your vote.

Roy’s proposal would impose the same $250,000 limit on noneconomic damages for any patient receiving a federal health insurance subsidy under the Affordable Care Act or enrolled in Medicaid, Medicare or any other federal program.

Why them? Apparently only because they’re within the grasp of federal law. Roy all but acknowledges that there’s no legitimate economic reason for this punitive approach. It won’t save a significant amount of money. It won’t change the direction of healthcare costs. It’s just nastiness, and as is usual with conservatives approaches to healthcare, it punishes the most defenseless members of society. Healthcare policy should do just the opposite.

 

One of the most well-publicized and most misunderstood cases in history is the “McDonald’s coffee case.” To understand more about the case, and the woman so severely injured, check out this video.

 

Untreated Heroin Withdrawal Results in Death and Civil Rights Lawsuit

Cleveland, Ohio.  March 7, 2014.  A federal civil rights lawsuit was filed today against Richland County jail officials who failed to treat Corey Tolar’s heroin withdrawal which resulted in his death on September 29, 2012.  The lawsuit alleges that Tolar suffered excruciating, painful and wrenching withdrawal symptoms in full view of jail medical staff.  No meaningful treatment was provided before his death.  By coincidence the case was filed on the same day that state officials are holding a public hearing to consider relaxing regulations regarding Ohio jail standards.  Co-Counsel Al Gerhardstein stated, “These tragic deaths can be avoided.  All Sheriffs need to stay vigilant and provide inmates the basic treatment needed to avoid death through withdrawal.”  Drug addiction is a common problem in Richland County and the family hopes through this case to ensure that citizens get the help they need when they experience withdrawal.  Attorneys Gerald Leeseberg and Craig Tuttle of Columbus are co-counsel on the case.  A copy of the lawsuit is available here: Complaint.  A copy of Mr. Gerhardstein’s objections to the relaxation of standards governing Ohio’s jails is available here: Public Comment.

The case is pending in federal court in Cleveland, Ohio and assigned to judge Donald C Nugent.

Once again, the medical malpractice lawyers and personal injury lawyers at Leeseberg & Valentine have earned the distinction of being named one of the “Best Law Firms” in the country by U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 Best Lawyers publication. Leeseberg & Valentine was named a Tier 1 law firm for personal injury litigation, which is the highest distinction given by the publication. This honor is especially rewarding in that the “Best Law Firms” are determined by a rigorous evaluation of a combination of client feedback and our firm’s reputation among other lawyers in the legal community.

The Columbus medical malpractice lawyers and personal injury lawyers at Leeseberg & Valentine are honored to be named a “Best Law Firm” and look forward to continuing to fight for justice on behalf of those injured from the negligence of others.

 

Once again, the medical malpractice lawyers and personal injury lawyers at Leeseberg & Valentine have earned the distinction of being named “Super Lawyers.”  Congratulations to Gerald Leeseberg and Anne Valentine for being named Super Lawyers.

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations, making it a truly special honor.

The Columbus medical malpractice lawyers and personal injury lawyers at Leeseberg & Valentine are honored to be named “Super Lawyers” and look forward to continuing to fight for justice on behalf of those injured from the negligence of others.

By Meghan Connolly and Dennis Mulvihill, January 20, 2014, Cleveland.com

Dr. Michael Kirsch’s column (“Litigation fever causing headaches for able physicians,” published in The Plain Dealer Jan. 12) is the epitome of a double standard. While he says that we, nondoctors, should take more responsibility for our own mistakes, nowhere does he suggest the medical community should take responsibility for medical mistakes that cause serious injury and death to patients. Nowhere does he acknowledge that preventable medical errors are the leading cause of accidental death nationwide, and third leading cause of death from all causes — killing as many as 400,000 patients annually, according a study in the September 2013 Journal of Patient Safety. Or that one-third of hospital patients fall victim to medical negligence each year, as reported in the April 2011 issue of Health Affairs. Or that doctors are currently pressing the Ohio General Assembly to pass House Bill 276, a law that would allow doctors to lie to a civil jury about having previously admitted to the patient at the hospital that they made a mistake. Are these examples of the medical profession taking responsibility for its errors?

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Source: The Pop Tort – December 3, 2013

Hey kids, it’s December and that means finals!  (You remember our last exam, right?)  So get out those #2 pencils again.  Actually, what year is this? Get out those laptops – and begin:

Medical errors in the U.S. rank where as a cause of death?

a. 50th
b. 25th
c. 10th
d. 3rd

Answer: “d”!  According to the report, published in the Journal of Patient Safetyand reported by Pro Public, “between 210,000 and 440,000 patients each year who go to the hospital for care suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death, the study says.  That would make medical errors the third-leading cause of death in America, behind heart disease, which is the first, and cancer, which is second.”

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