Tort reform infomercials under fire

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Oct. 4, 2004

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Doctors for Medical Liability Reform, a group running infomercials about the need for tort reform in states hardest hit by rising rates, is facing a lawsuit accusing it and three other defendants of invading a woman's privacy by using her image in the commercial without her consent.

Carol Blissitt in September filed a lawsuit in Fulton County (Georgia) Superior Court on behalf of her now deceased mother Sarah Evelyn Blissitt, whose image was in the commercial. The lawsuit also names St. Joseph's Hospital in Atlanta and two groups that were involved in producing and airing the commercials, Mercury Group Inc. and Ackerman McQueen Inc.

The lawsuit alleges that when the family asked why a film crew was in the emergency department where their mother was taken they were told that it was an in-house video to show how the emergency department team related with the emergency technician teams bringing patients to the hospital. The lawsuit also alleges that the family was told that the patients were not being filmed.

The video stopped running on Georgia television stations before the lawsuit was filed. The ad was only scheduled to run for a limited time, said Rob Portman, legal counsel for Doctors for Medical Liability Reform.

Bill Powers, spokesman for Doctors for Medical Liability Reform and executive vice president of Mercury Group, and Portman said they were reviewing the lawsuit and had no comment while it was under review.

"We are taking this lawsuit very seriously, and we will respond as soon as we can and as soon as it is appropriate," Portman said.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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