LB - Home Furnishings Direct 0519

Home | Classifieds | Place Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Kudos | Obits | Real Estate | Subscriber Services | Villager | Health Directory | Contact Us
The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news May 28, 2016

2/2/2013 2:00:00 PM
Thorpe seeks to limit malpractice lawsuits

Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services

PHOENIX -- A state legislator wants to impose some new requirements on judges and attorneys in his bid to cut down on medical malpractice lawsuits.

The proposal by Rep. Bob Thorpe, R-Flagstaff, would bar lawyers from filing a medical malpractice lawsuit unless they were certified by the state Supreme Court as a "medical malpractice attorney.' Thorpe's bill does not define what it would take to be certified, leaving the details up to the state's high court.

"The idea is to try to weed out the difference between good, legitimate attorneys that are practicing in the area of medical malpractice ... from the ambulance chasers,' he said. Thorpe said he envisions the certification process as establishing minimum standards.

But HB 2465 does not stop there. It also would allow these cases to be heard only by judges who also have been through special training on medical malpractice cases. Thorpe said the reasoning is the same.

"Let's ensure that even a judge assigned to the case has a baseline understanding of the issue.'

The legislation is drawing fire from the Arizona Trial Lawyers Association, which is made up of attorneys who represent plaintiffs in not just medical malpractice but all types of death and personal injury cases.

"This is a restriction on free enterprise,' said organization spokesman Barrett Marson.

"Arizonans should be able to choose the lawyer that best fits them and their needs,' he continued. "This restricts competition and the free market.'

And what the judges think of it remains to be seen: Pete Dunn who lobbies for the Arizona Judges Association said his clients have yet to take a position on the measure.

There's also the argument that the measure specifically singles out medical malpractice for special attention, with no other similar requirement existing now or proposed for any other type of lawsuit. And Thorpe agreed that some kinds of litigation, like patent and intellectual property law, can be far more complex.

He said, though, there's a good reason for that distinction: the effect that malpractice lawsuits have on overall healthcare costs -- and not just for businesses and individuals.

"Our portion of the budget that has to do with health-related issues is huge,' Thorpe said. Anyway, he said, the idea of putting new restrictions on which attorneys can file malpractice lawsuits was suggested to him by doctors he knows.

Despite Thorpe's call for specialists to handle medical malpractice cases, his measure covers only judges and those who file the lawsuits. It imposes no such mandate on those hired by doctors and hospitals to mount a defense.

Thorpe said the distinction is justified.

He said those who specialize in filing malpractice have "chosen to go down that path.' By contrast, he said, a doctor or hospital may want to be represented by its regular defense counsel.

"I'm not sure I'd want to limit the defendant that way,' Thorpe said. "But folks that are kind of on the aggressive end of it, if you will, they're the ones pushing for legal action, I certainly want to hold them to a certain standard.'

Marson ridiculed that logic.

"Of course it's ridiculous to put restriction on plaintiffs that you don't put on defendants,' he said. "Fairness dictations everybody should be held to the same standards.'

Anyway, Marson questioned why Thorpe would want to put doctors at a legal disadvantage, allowing them to be represented by -- and going up against -- patients whose attorneys have been through the certification process.

Thorpe said, though, he sees his certification for both plaintiffs' attorneys and judges more in the area of setting basic standards than providing advanced training.

"I'm not really looking at anything terribly elaborate,' he said, saying it would be up to the Supreme Court to decide what would be appropriate training.

"So we might be talking four-hour training, six-hour training, a week, who knows?' he continued. But Thorpe said he does not envision this being anything like six months of night classes.

"I don't want this to turn into a huge burden for any attorney,' he said.

    Most Viewed     Recently Commented
•   Marana man suffers skull injury, brain bleed following ATV crash (3260 views)

•   Man arrested on numerous charges after crashing stolen motorcycle (2396 views)

•   Blaze erupts from panel van at gas station (2325 views)

•   Smoke on the mountain, where lighting struck repeatedly (1803 views)

•   State Investment Board questions legality of Prop. 123 disbursements (1027 views)

Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to Facebook character limits. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit excessive comment entries.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
HSE - Father Son Look a Like Contest
HSE - Readers Choice 300x100
Find more about Weather in Cottonwood, AZ
Click for weather forecast

Submission Links
 •  Submit your feedback about our site

Find It Features Blogs Celebrate Submit Extras Other Publications Local Listings
Classifieds | Place Ad | Galleries | Kudos | Real Estate | Subscriber Services | e-News | RSS | Site Map | Find Verde Jobs | Contact Us
LB - Yavapai College 0523 Industrial Machine 728x90

© Copyright 2016 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Verde Independent is the information source for Cottonwood and Verde Valley area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Western News&Info, Inc.® Verde News Online is a service of WNI. By using the Site, ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the Site's terms of use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the Site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Verde News Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved