The St. Louis Post published a story this morning that emphasizes the huge costs that would be incurred by average citizens if “tort reform” proposals become law. The debate typically involves some big interests making claims about the “problems” with nursing home lawsuits therefore necessitating these changes. Patient advocates continue to challenge the scope of the exaggerated problem.
Less frequently mentioned is the effect these changes would have on citizen rights. In other words, we advocate against tort reform not because it is unnecessary (though it is unnecessary), but because it would have dangerous effects on the rights of innocent victims.
All citizens have the constitutional right to a trial by a jury. That right inherently involves the option of having the jury hear the evidence in a case, decide upon liability, and evaluate the losses to determine an appropriate remedy. The point of having this right in constitutions (at both the federal and state level) is specifically because our founders did not want it violated by legislative action.
Alexander Hamilton once mentioned that while the nation’s early leaders often disagreed on certain principles, “if they agree in nothing else, [they] concur at least in the value they set upon the trial by jury.” It is vital that victims retain that right in current nursing home trials.
Our Chicago nursing home attorneys at Levin & Perconti will continue to stand up against those calling for eliminating vanguards of American liberty. It is important to prevent particular interests from sacrificing the rights of all Americans for their own individualized gain. The right to an unfettered jury trial is just as important today as it was when the Founders enshrined it in our guiding documents two and a half centuries ago.
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