Tort Reform Criticized

By Zac Schultz
Jan. 11, 2011

Madison: It's still hard for Christine Larson to talk about the death of her daughter Tia. Tia was a diabetic and was at a treatment facility when her blood sugar spiked. Unfortunately, she wasn't given insulin until the next morning. Larson says it was a clear case of negligence. "It was just simple care, simple diabetic care that she needed and they did not give that to her. I don't have any recourse. My only outlet is lawsuit."

Larson was one of many people at a press conference Tuesday to express concerns over Governor Walker's tort reform package, which would make it more difficult to sue businesses in the state.

A number of citizen groups say the changes would force them to show a worker intended to harm their relative -negligence would not be enough.

"This bill makes it much harder to get punitive damages when there has been abuse and neglect in nursing homes," says Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin.

"To allow a bill like this to go through, wiping out that accountability - it's ludicrous. It just doesn't make sense," says Richard Witt, who lost a loved one to a fall in a treatment facility.

"(I) certainly have great empathy for people who are in positions like that, but I think in large part, many of the folks the opposition I've heard has been misdirected," says Governor Scott Walker.

Walker says tort reform is needed to improve the business climate in the state. He says people are being given poor information by the trial attorneys. "There's certainly a lot of subjective information from many of the trial attorneys involved. They make a lot of money off the cases like this."

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