Bush targets lawsuit abuse

By Staff
MEET THE PRESIDENT – Barbara Henson of Meridian shakes hands with President Bush. Henson is a small business owner and represents Ward 3 on the Meridian City Council. She was one of 15 people who appeared onstage Wednesday to meet the president. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By William F. West / community editor
Aug. 8, 2002
MADISON President Bush wants to defeat what he calls a "lawsuit industry" growing in Mississippi at the expense of honest businesses, doctors and hospitals.
Bush, in a speech Wednesday here, called for reforms in the legal system, including limiting the amount of punitive damages to $250,000 in cases of hard-hearted, gross misconduct.
He said the issue is a federal one because of the dollars poured into Medicaid and Medicare programs.
Business leaders, defense lawyers and health care professionals have complained that the Magnolia State has become the "lawsuit Mecca" because trial lawyers have won multi-million dollar verdicts in state courts and are filing even more lawsuits.
Some businesses have gone so far as to seek settlements outside the courtroom to head off additional legal costs.
Many doctors say they are in danger of losing malpractice insurance and more than a few hospital administrators are worried that they will not have enough specialists and surgeons to respond to emergencies. Hospitals, too, face huge increases in liability insurance.
Trial lawyers make no apologies for what they see as forcing big businesses and the health care industry to pay up for ruining the lives of working-class Mississippians with negligent practices.
And while more than a few trial lawyers have won big in state courts, more than a few will point out that they will have far less success in federal courts, particularly the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, because of judges appointed by President Reagan and Bush's father.
President Bush on Wednesday said he believes that "junk and frivolous lawsuits" can ruin an honest business.
But Bush also emphasized that he is not treating dishonest corporations with kid gloves. He told of his sympathy for those who lost their jobs in the downfall of WorldCom and promised to approve more anti-fraud regulations.
He also said that workers should be allowed to diversify their pension accounts so that they will not be forced to keep large amounts of money tied up in company stocks.
Bush also said his administration pledges to win the war against terrorism, protect the nation and seek economic security for all Americans. He also said that security will be strictly enforced at the nation's borders and checkpoints.
He called for the U.S. Senate to send a homeland security bill to his desk so that he can sign it and move ahead with the business of protecting the nation.

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: In memoriam – Monuments honor the fallen of Franklin

High School Sports

RHS senior chosen as Bryant-Jordan Region 8 Scholar winner

High School Sports

Russellville High School ladies soccer team members participate in annual Night to Shine

News

Russellville High School Scholars Bowl team qualifies for state tournament

News

Vina kindergarteners connect with lots of other classes

News

PCHS JAG student places in district conference

Features

Wedding Spotlight: Layne and Frank Edwards

Franklin County

RHS senior competes at state DYW competition

News

Extension, 4-H present free resume workshop

Franklin County

Franklin County has lots to love

High School Sports

Russellville High School honors alum Luther Tiggs with special night of basketball

News

BTCPA announces second production of season

News

RMS holds annual state assessment celebration

Franklin County

Red Bay welcomes new city attorney

Franklin County

Attempted traffic stop leads to high-speed vehicle pursuit, wreck 

Franklin County

Vehicle pursuit ends in wreck, arrest 

News

RFD, RHS collab promotes job readiness, community safety

Franklin County

Local students named to Mississippi State University’s fall 2023 President’s List

News

Russellville Elementary features among U.S. News & World Report best elementary schools

News

RCS receives recognition as finalist for national award

News

Plans get underway to raise funds for cancer research in memory of Bedfords

Franklin County

PHOTOS: Freezing temperatures make way for fun

Belgreen

Belgreen High School improves district report card score

News

RHS earns College Board AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award

x