culture, politics, commentary, criticism

Friday, October 08, 2004
Two Americas: the worthy rich and the unworthy housewife. Whether you are entitled to sue is based on what you're worth. From the
Wall Street Journal, sub. req'd.:
Amid the fierce debate over limits on medical-malpractice suits, many states have enacted limits of their own that are having a sweeping impact. One of the most common types -- caps on damages for pain and suffering, or so-called noneconomic caps -- is turning out to have the unpublicized effect of creating two tiers of malpractice victims.

Cases involving high earners or big medical bills move ahead. Lawyers can still seek economic damages for the wages these patients lost or to pay for continuing medical bills. But lawyers are turning away cases involving victims that don't represent big economic losses -- most notably retired people, children and housewives such as Ms. [Shelly] Thompson-Mooney [the focus of the full article].

Vice President Dick Cheney mentioned the Bush administration's wish to enact nationwide caps on noneconomic damages in his debate this week with John Edwards, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee and a former plaintiffs' lawyer himself. But groups such as AARP, the organization for older Americans, and the National Organization for Women are mounting campaigns against such moves. "When you put a cap on noneconomic damages," says NOW President Kim Gandy, "quite literally [women's] lives are valued lower."
The Republican platform: the housewife has no economic value, so her pain and suffering has no economic value.

Die, women, die!

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