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St. Petersburg, Florida

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Bob Carroll
Bob Carroll
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Specialty Courts Would Bring Special Problem – Bias

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The Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog casually floats the idea of special courts for medical malpractice claims. Nice try, Wall Street, but I prefer my justice served with fairness and impartiality.

Some years ago my clients and I experienced the kind of justice that occurs in a special tribunal in the State of Florida. The special tribunal process was created as part of a pre-suit screening process for medical malpractice claims. Each tribunal was composed of an attorney, a doctor and a judge. The legislature may have thought it would be wonderfully fair and knowledgeable because of its composition. A few years of experience proved how unfair special tribunals could be. The doctor on the panel, armed with his agenda and his supposedly superior insight into medical issues, was easily able to lead one or both of his panel-mates to vote against every claimant.

I would rather put my faith in the fairness of ordinary trial judges and citizen juries who don’t come to the issues as advocates for the malpractitioners.

The Atlanta [business] court is a tangible example of a movement to establish more specialty courts, most notably special health courts that would adjudicate medical malpractice claims…. They don’t yet exist; Congress plans to hold hearings on the topic this year.

Would Congress be willing to hear from the hundreds of Florida malpractice victims who saw their day in court become a funeral service for their rights?