Blogging “Trial Lawyers Inc. — K Street”

Last week my colleagues at the Manhattan Institute put out a report in their Trial Lawyers Inc. series taking a look at the lobbying clout of the plaintiff’s bar in Washington and elsewhere. It’s full of interesting details and vignettes, and now Jim Copland, who presided over the compiling of the report, will be blogging it all week at Point of Law. His first installment is here.


  • While I disagree with the premise, this post and the report the underlies the post, makes some interesting points. I think the final point – that the U.S. is not more safe because of the tort system – lacks foundation. First, I think it is largely safer in the United States than it is in other countries. You are safer on the road in the United States – for example – per mile than you are in Germany (one of the comparison countries given). But that statistic is nonsensical too because there are too many variable involved when comparing countries.

    The point is, I don’t think we know exactly what the difference the tort system makes in keeping us safer. We have different opinions as to what the difference would be.. (Even the report concedes what is has to concede: certainly, some bad behavior is deterred by the tort system.) But it is impossible compare other countries and then draw conclusions as to the impact our tort system has on public safety.

    Parenthetically, there are a lot of interesting statistics coming out of Texas about medical care since they instituted what I consider to be draconian damage caps with respect to defensive medicine and overall patient safety.

  • Why are airplanes safe? If there are crashes, then manufacturers of airplanes would lose their market. Government comes into play not to make airplanes safe but to enforce the engineering stands of the large companies. One can not enter the market by shortchanging engineering. Law suits after a crash are immaterial to safety, they interfere with rational insurance structures in that they set payouts independent of premiums.

    The same is true of medical matters.