August 19, 2001
feeding on Mississippi
To the Editor:
With your article "Florida law firm targets nursing homes," we once again see that the predatory plaintiff lawyers are attacking a vital industry in Mississippi like sharks from the gulf.
These plaintiff lawyers make their very lucrative living suing legitimate businesses, ultimately resulting in the cost of goods and services increasing for the poor people of our state.
Let me tell you what has happened in the nursing home industry in Mississippi over just the last two years since plaintiff lawyers have turned their greedy eyes toward that industry for their money-making lawsuits. In 1999 there were 18 insurance companies in Mississippi offering to write general liability insurance for nursing homes, but since the lawsuit explosion, now there are but two.
The price for insuring a single bed in a Mississippi nursing home in 1999 was a mere $80. Two years later with the much higher chances of a lawsuit, the price per bed is now over $1,000 to purchase general liability insurance for nursing homes.
These increased costs of staying in business for nursing homes is a direct result of these shark lawyers like the one from Florida, who has now decided to feed in Mississippi, described in your article.
Now, who ultimately pays for these increased costs? We do. The average joe, that's who. We pay more for them in monthly fees for our parents and grandparents when we place them in nursing homes to cover the cost of these lawsuits.
What? You don't care, because you don't have a parent or grandparent in a nursing home? You should, because the large majority of payments for nursing home stays for our state's elderly citizens in Mississippi come straight out of the general fund budget of our state budget through Medicare/Medicaid payments.
Therefore, we ALL pay for these higher costs associated with the lawsuits filed by these ultra-rich plaintiff lawyers who are just looking for another way to make their next million dollars to line their pockets and purchase another jet aircraft through our taxes.
There's a reason that these rich out-of-state plaintiff lawyers are flocking to Mississippi for their newest payday: Our justice system allows for them to make unlimited billions of dollars at the expense of our own citizens, and our state Legislature and governor won't do anything about it because they're in the pockets of the rich lawyers themselves.
STOP Lawsuit Abuse
in Mississippi Inc.
even as insurance
costs go up
To the Editor:
Listening to the comments made by city leaders, one would believe that the city will not raise employees' salaries this year. That seems ironic since they, not long ago, raised their own salaries. Also, I find it ironic that department heads for the city of Meridian are among the highest paid in the state of Mississippi. What is the reasoning behind this?
How can this city get a rating placing it among the best in the state of Mississippi and then freeze budgets for each department? It is as if the city of Meridian is not on solid ground financially.
I also hear there are problems with the health insurance coverage for the employees. This will hurt the employees not getting a raise more than the department heads.
Seems all this was kept quiet during the elections. But we need another parking garage and at the employees' expense. Funny, huh?
authority to do
To the Editor:
I am a member of the Martin Volunteer Fire
Department. As most of you know, we, along with other County fire departments and the Meridian Fire Department, respond to many types of emergencies. Among the most common are traffic accidents where we render emergency medical care and conduct rescue operations.
It has come to my attention that many of the actions that we perform, such as directing traffic, rerouting traffic, crowd control, etc. are not authorized by state law. This means that a firefighter, standing in the road in the rain at three o'clock in the morning trying to direct traffic around a car with a family trapped inside, is violating the law. If a drunk driver slams into the firefighter, or the wrecked car, the firefighter and our department could be sued for millions.
Firefighters generally do not ask for much, heck, out in the County we are volunteers, but we absolutely need the authority to do our job. Sure, it would be nice if there were enough deputies and troopers on the job to do traffic direction, but there are just too few law enforcement officers available for them to perform this task.
In south Mississippi, a firefighter was recently killed when he was struck by a speeding car while working on an emergency scene. Guess who got the blame. It is unconscionable for the people of Mississippi to put their firefighters in such an untenable position.
Please contact your State Representative and State Senator and demand that firefighters be given the authority and ability to do our job.
To the Editor:
The students and staff of Oakland Heights Elementary are off to a great 2001-2002 school year. As we begin this new school term, we will continue to place a major emphasis on improving the reading achievement of all of our students. This year we will be adding two new programs that we feel will be instrumental in helping us reach this goal.
I think both parents and educators would agree that the more you read, the better you read. With that in mind, we have constructed "Reading Racks" in our auditorium and cafeteria to display books and to make them more accessible to students throughout the day. We are in need of donated books to share with our students. Our children love to read and are always excited when new books arrive!
By the middle of September, we will begin an after-school tutorial program for students who are experiencing reading difficulties in kindergarten through third grade. While we will have outstanding teachers involved in this program, there is a need for additional volunteers in order to serve the many children who could benefit from such tutorial support.
If you have children's books that you are willing to share with the students of Oakland Heights or if you are interested in serving as a volunteer in our after-school program, please contact our school office at 484-4983. With students, parents, teachers and the community working together, this could be our best year ever!
Dr. Kim Benton, Principal