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URL:  http://boards.fool.com/the-judges-are-instructing-the-juries-to-find-for-24484435.aspx

Subject:  Re: t.Retirement won't happen for me Date:  8/18/2006  2:40 PM
Author:  ptheland Number:  53238 of 75807

The judges are instructing the juries to find for the plaintiffs?

You are getting a little over the top here.


No. That's not what I'm saying at all. I have enough faith in the legal system that we aren't having those kinds of problems. No one is telling the juries to find specifically for the plaintiffs or the defendants.

But the jury instructions are leaving open the possibility of large awards to the plaintiff IF the jury finds for the plaintiff in the first place.

Let's face it, plaintiff's attornies are pretty good at painting the plaintiff as the poor soul putting their faith and trust in the defendant's professional skills. And painting the defendant as the bad, rich guy trying to take advantage of this poor trusting soul. Complicate that by the fact that its easier for the jury to put themselves in the plaintiff's position than the defendant's.

The joke about a jury being made up of people too dumb to get out of jury service is not only funny, it's got a ring of truth to it.

I think the juries are pretty good at finding out the truth based on the evidence they are given. I have no complaints with the jury system deciding the facts of the case. Where it falls down is in determining damages in civil cases.

re: friviolous cases
That [nuisance suits] would be a different topic. And if it is really gray, then it is probably not frivilous almost as a tautology.

I agree. That was probably a poor choice of wording on my part at the beginning. Although it probably reflects the layman's understanding of the term "frivilous." I'd hazard a guess that most people would consider nuisance suits to be frivilous, even though that is probably not the technically correct definition of frivilous.

At any rate, my concern is really over the nuisance suits seeking to pat down insurers for a small settlement, not the truly frivilous stuff that has no merit whatsoever.

This does not address that Texas insurance has not declined even though you dream rules have been implemented for nearly a decade now.

OK. Let's look at that one.

So the semi-independent republic of Texas (big grin there) has imposed some caps on damages. The problem is that this is only one state. Large compaines and insurers operate in all 50. (Except for the weird insurance issues in New York.) The front line insurers can probably rate based on location. So at first this looks like a good deal for Texas. But most front line insurers are going to buy reinsurance for big claims. And that reinsurance is going to be priced based on the whole portfolio of insurance - all 50 (or 49) states. Since these big claims are most likely going to be covered by the reinsurance, the cost of that reinsurance isn't significantly affected by the award caps in Texas. There's 49 other states who can still have large awards.

So it makes sense to me that there haven't been significant reductions in insurance costs. The problem needs a nationwide solution, not just one state. I think if there was a move among most of the states to adopt limits on awards similar to those in Texas, then we would start to see some change in premiums.

--Peter
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