MSNJ president says high jury award underscores need for tort reform

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Dec. 13, 2004

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Medical Society of New Jersey President S. Manzoor Abidi, MD, said that a $75 million award in a medical malpractice lawsuit in November, in which two-thirds of the money was for noneconomic damages, shows the state needs further tort reforms.

In June, New Jersey lawmakers passed reforms that included tougher expert witness requirements, shorter times for when a minor would have to file a claim for a birth-related injury, gave judges the authority to reduce awards they believed were excessive and allowed physicians named in a lawsuit who weren't involved in the patient's care to sign an affidavit and be removed from the case.

But Dr. Abidi said the changes won't prevent high jury awards for pain and suffering. The recent award "does nothing to enhance medical care or prevent errors," he said.

"Money that should be spent on preventing systems errors is being diverted," he said. "Society needs to decide if we want better health care or unlimited damages in relatively few cases."

Note: This item originally appeared at

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