Thursday, March 10, 2005

Med mal and tort reform -- new data

The New York Times this morning carried an interesting piece by four law professors describing their analysis of medical malpractice cases in Texas between 1988-2002. Their study casts doubt on the claims of those who would impose caps on jury awards, showing a remarkable stability in jury verdicts in favor of the plaintiffs over time, the number of large claims over time, and the number of total paid claims per practicing physician over time. They conclude:
In short, as far as medical malpractice cases are concerned, for 15 years the Texas tort system has been remarkably stable.
This isn't surprising, given similar work by Neil Vidmar and others on juries and medical malpractice (read his fine book Medical Malpractice and the American Jury, University of Michigan Press).

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Supreme Court bans death penalty for juveniles under 18

The U.S. Supreme Court today found the death penalty for juveniles under the age of 18 unconstitutional (Roper v. Simmons). The majority opinion discussed the distinctive features of juveniles that made them less culpable, and noted international trends against the execution of juveniles.

Along with Bill Bowers, Mike Antonio, and Ben Fleury-Steiner, I've written about juries and the juvenile death penalty in pieces in Boston University Law Review and Judicature -- we found capital jurors extremely reluctant to impose death on juveniles under 18. Now they won't have to agonize about that particular form of punishment for juveniles.