Are Many Tort Reform Advocates Hypocrites?

That is the conclusion of a thought-provoking piece identifying individuals and corporations who have supported tort reform but use the judicial system to remedy wrongs against themselves. It warns about the danger of this position through the story of Frank Cornelius, an Indiana lobbyist who was involved in capping medical malpractice awards in the state in 1975. After a series of “medical catastrophes” beginning in 1989, Cornelius sued for his more than $5 million in medical expenses and lost wages. The defendants settled for $500,000, the limit on damages implemented by the Indiana tort reform he supported.

The lesson from this story has not been taken to heart by advocates of tort reform. The article from Emily Gottlieb, Deputy Director of the Center for Justice and Democracy at New York Law School, names ten individuals and twelve corporations who have engaged in this hypocrisy.  The individuals include:

President George W. Bush: As Texas Governor, Bush signed legislation to limit “frivolous lawsuits.” Yet, when his daughter was involved in a minor fender-bender in 1999 that was covered by his insurance, he sued Enterprise Rent-a-Car for renting a vehicle to a driver with a suspended license.

U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.): In 1994, Rick Santorum sponsored a bill to cap non-economic damages at $250,000. Five years later, in 1999, Santorum testified at his wife’s trial seeking compensation of $500,000 in a medical malpractice lawsuit against her chiropractor.

The corporations identified either funded or are members of organizations advocating tort reform. Here are a few:

Aetna: The health care insurance company famously ran ads in the 1970s and 1980s to promote tort reform that were so powerful they could convince jurors to arbitrarily reduce personal injury awards. Yet, when they pay money out to customers who do not deserve it, they avail themselves of the litigation process in order to recoup it.

Exxon: The multinational oil and gas corporation supported efforts to limit lawsuits by consumers against insurance companies for unfairly denying claims. However, when Lloyds of London denied its $250 million insurance claim for losses from the Valdez oil spill, it sued and won.

View the rest of the list at:

Metro-North Train Derails in the Bronx – 60+ Injured and 4 People Killed in Accident

Metro-North Train Derails

Metro-North Train Derails

Metro-North Train derailed early this morning, December 1, 2013, at 7:20 a.m. in the Bronx, New York.  Metro-North authorities say four cars on a seven-car train leaving from Poughkeepsie at 5:54 a.m. derailed just feet from the Hudson and Harlem Rivers and just short of the Spuyten Duyvil station.

News agencies initially stated some of those derailed cars were in the water, but that has been confirmed that was not true.  More than 130 firefighters raced to the derailment scene to help extricate passengers and crew from the train.

Of the four people killed in this train derailment accident three where ejected from the train.  All passengers have been accounted for, said Gov. Cuomo.

The Hudson line is suspended indefinitely and the Amtrak Empire line is suspended between Albany and New York City until further investigation.

A frequent Sunday rider told a news station that he takes this train every Sunday and that it was traveling faster than usual as it approached the curve where it derailed and that was also confirmed to be one factor by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority President Tom Prendergast during a briefing near the derailment.  A similar incident took place near the area in a July derailment but on a different track.

Friends and families trying to obtain information about people that may have been on this train are advised to contact New York City’s 311 information system, Gov. Cuomo said.


If you or someone you know have been injured in this or any other train accident please contact experienced Railroad Accident Attorney James J. McEldrew, III.  Mr. McEldrew is available to answer all your questions.  Jim was on the Board of Directors of the Academy of Rail Labor Attorneys from 1994 until 2001, and was President of the Academy of Rail Labor Attorneys from 2001 to 2002.  Call Jim today at 215-694-1267 or email him at

Johnson & Johnson Recalls OneTouch® Verio®IQ Meters

After detecting extremely high blood glucose levels of 1024 mg/dl or higher, the OTVIQ inexplicitly shuts down and fails to provide the user with an adequate reading and warning.  As a result, a hyperglycemic patient may inadvertently fail to inject themselves with insulin or seek immediate medical attention, which poses serious, even fatal, health risks.

OneTouch® Verio®IQ

OneTouch® Verio®IQ

Of course, for diabetic patients, accurate blood glucose testing can mean the difference between life and death.  As blood sugar levels rise, patients may experience severe complications, such as cell and blood vessel damage, vision problems, and organ failure, which in turn, can result in blindness, ketoacidosis, even death.  Due to the severity of their condition, it is absolutely imperative that diabetics can trust in the quality of products like the OTVIQ.

LifeScan and J&J are currently defendants in a Louisiana based wrongful death action, based on a comparable failure of a similar product, the OneTouch® Ultra® Blood Glucose Meter (“OTUBGM”). The plaintiff, Lenora Cousin, alleges her diabetic husband mistakenly overdosed on insulin, because of an inaccurate reading from his OTUBGM.  While the erroneous reading of Mr. Cousin’s LifeScan meter resulted in too much insulin, as opposed to not enough insulin (the risk related to the current recall), it demonstrates the significant danger to diabetic patients of defective blood glucose meters.

If you or a loved one has experienced complications from use of a LifeScan OTVIQ, you may be entitled to legal remedies.  The attorneys of McEldrew Law have decades of success, litigating complex personal injury matters, related to product defects and medical device malfunction.  Moreover, to assist with your case, the staff of McEldrew Law includes a pharmaceutical diabetic engineer, formerly the in-house engineer for a major pharmaceutical company.  Our collective experience, knowledge, and expertise has resulted in a national reputation for excellence and results.  For a free and confidential consultation, contact McEldrew Law at (215) 545-8800 or

Negligent Diagnosis in Emergency Medical Treatment

It is often said that the first job of the emergency room physician is to decide who gets admitted to the hospital. This is by no means as easy as it sounds. Often working long hours in crowded and confusing conditions, ER doctors and nurses need to deal with an ever-changing variety of cases from bad colds and allergies to dog bites, strokes, heart attacks, drug overdoses or gunshot wounds.

Despite the time pressures and limitations of information that emergency room physicians work under, they are still responsible for their errors of judgment in diagnostic decisions, at least when the mistakes reflect violations of recognized standards of care applicable to the given clinical situation. The key to success in a lawsuit for damages is to show through expert medical testimony that errors committed in the emergency room violated recognized standards of care and caused the patient’s injuries or death…. Read More >

Damages Claims for Delayed Diagnosis of Cancer in Pennsylvania

Some of the most complex medical negligence cases are those related to errors in the diagnosis of cancer. Misdiagnosis of cancer as another disease or medical condition is relatively rare, with an accurate diagnosis made eventually in nearly all cases. The crucial question is frequently whether the correct diagnosis should have been made in time to give the patient a better chance of survival.

Because Pennsylvania law requires malpractice claims to be supported at an early point of the case by expert medical opinion, the plaintiff’s attorney needs to assemble a team of qualified professionals who can review and evaluate the performance of the potential defendants in terms of recognized standards of care…. Read More >

Medical Malpractice Litigation Against Surgeons in Pennsylvania

Although medical science and technology have achieved a great deal to reduce the risks of surgery, invasive treatment procedures under anesthesia will presumably always present some level of hazard for the patient.

In a civil action for damages following an unfortunate patient outcome in surgery, the challenge for the patient’s legal team is to prove that the sequence of events that led to the injury or death was the result of negligent mistakes on the part of one or more members of the surgical team rather than a risk inherent in the surgical procedure itself…. Read More >

Recovering Damages for Prescription Errors in Pennsylvania

Properly used for the right patients, prescription medications can relieve suffering while reducing the risk of heart attack, seizure, stroke or other serious medical conditions. Not every drug is the right choice for every patient, however, and both the selection and dosage of medications must be carefully matched to individual patient needs in order to achieve the clinical objective and avoid injury or death.

In medical malpractice litigation related to errors in prescription drugs, careful analysis of the patient’s medical history and treatment records is necessary to answer a number of critical questions:

• Is there a causal link between the patient’s injury or death and the use of a particular medication?
• Did anything in the patient’s medical history indicate the inadvisability of a particular drug?
• Was the patient properly instructed in the safe use of the drug, or advised about what to do if certain side effects develop?
• Did other medications the patient was using indicate elevated levels of risk with the use of this drug?
• If administered by a nurse or other hospital staff, was the drug used in a manner consistent with the doctor’s instructions and the manufacturer’s disclosures and warning?
• Was the prescription filled as it was written, or in a different dose or even a different drug?… Read More >

An example of how we fight for your rights

In Philadelphia, parent filed a medical malpractice (birth injury) action against Dr. S. in federal district court  (James McEldrew filing as the plaintiff attorney).  The MCARE Fund defended Dr. S., and, although both lawyers and parties discussed settlement, the action proceeded to trial.   At trial, parent presented expert medical testimony to show that, before Parent gave birth to twins on November 4, 1995, Dr. S. failed to diagnose parent as suffering from a chorioamnionitis infection.   As a result of this failure, both babies were infected.   When the trial concluded, the jury awarded $6.25 million for our client’s injuries and $6.9 million for our other client’s injuries involved in same incident, for a total verdict of $13.15 million.

McEldrew Law – Philadelphia Personal Injury Blog

PA Medical Malpractice Claims Decline by 45 Percent Since 2002

According to the annual report of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on the level of medical malpractice litigation in the state, new case filings continue to decline for claims of negligence on the part of doctors, nurses and hospitals.

In 2010, 1,491 medical malpractice cases were filed in Pennsylvania. This figure represents a modest decrease from the annual average of 1,674 new cases established over the period 2003-09. By contrast, in the period 2000-02, a total of 8,195 medical negligence actions were filed, or an annual average of 2,731 new cases each year. The 2010 total represents a 45 percent decrease from the annual average number of cases filed in 2000-02…. Read More >

Distinguishing Between Wrongful Death and Survival Actions

Pennsylvania law recognizes two different kinds of civil litigation when a person dies through negligent or intentional circumstances: wrongful death and survival. There are important distinctions between these causes of action, and families in need of legal advice about their right to damages in accidental death cases need to understand the significance of these distinctions.

Only Certain Family Members Are Eligible to Sue for Wrongful Death

A wrongful death action belongs to the people most affected by the death of a family member. Pennsylvania law only recognizes spouses, parents or children of a fatal accident victim as eligible to commence a wrongful death lawsuit. If the decedent had no spouse, parents or children, the right to sue for wrongful death damages belongs to the personal representative of the decedent’s estate…. Read More >