Litigation Prevention

     If you want to drive down medical costs, you should promote preventive care. Right?
     Just play along and agree.
     OK. Now how do you drive down litigation costs?
     Make it harder to sue? Cap legal fees? Shut down courthouses?
     Or how about preventive care?
     The other day the president of a group called the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform[1] put out a press release that said she was “heartened to see that the massive cost of America’s legal system has at least temporarily stopped its meteoric rise of the past two decades.”
     The heartening was brought on by a report on the cost of the U. S. tort system that showed “an overall 5.5 percent decline in 2006 to $247 billion.”
     $247 billion? Report? Data from some governmental agency or pillar of academia?
     Well, no. It turns out that this report was issued by something called Tillinghast Towers-Perrin. You’ve heard of them, haven’t you?
     It turns out that T T-P, according to its website, “provides consulting and software solutions to insurance and financial services companies and advises other organizations.”
     Clearly an objective source.[2]
     According to the website, “the methodology used in Tillinghast’s report incorporates three cost components: benefits paid or expected to be paid to third parties (losses), defense costs and administrative expenses.”
     I haven’t a clue what that means – and the link on the site to the full report doesn’t work. But it sounds, suspiciously, like they’re including the damages awarded to injured plaintiffs.
     So the key, obviously, is to stop people from injuring themselves.
     Now the unimaginative solution is to regulate industry or inspect factories or do any number of things that might cut down profits. It’s a good bet that no Tillinghast client would like that very much. Those people would probably prefer outlawing the legal profession.
     But what’s needed is a way to stop people from becoming plaintiffs in the first place.
     The best method is an educational preventive care campaign. Courses in public schools should be devoted to litigation avoidance.
     Important lessons for everyone:
     Stop being so darn clumsy! About 90% of all tort litigation[3] is attributable to people not paying attention to what they’re doing. Legislation should be enacted making morning cups of coffee mandatory. This alone will reduce traffic accidents by 48%.[4]
     Schools can get into the act by requiring physical therapy for anyone picked last for a team during P. E.
     Read the labels! If anything has any potential side effects whatsoever, don’t use it.
     Never invest in anything. It’s the only way to keep your money safe.[5]
     Educate yourself about the risks and rewards of anything you’re contemplating and seek professional advice. Naturally, that will never happen. But you can at least pretend to have done that.
     Home-school and then manufacture all your own goods. Yes, you could still sue yourself if something goes wrong, but your opponent will know all your weaknesses.





[1] Which, no doubt, is headquartered in the president’s basement.

[2] And, quite possibly, located in someone’s basement.

[3] This figure is from a report that I just made up.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Or you could send it to me. I’ll keep it safe.

%d bloggers like this: