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Truth and Justice Columns

  • 8/24/09 - Attorneys look to get clients out of a bind Wisconsin Law Journal More

  • 8/28/09 - Labor Day Holiday Travel Alert
    Racine News More

  • 9/2/09 Juror Appreciation Month
    Racine News More

Updated and Redesigned Auto Insurance Brochures are Available
With the changes in auto insurance enacted in the state budget getting ready to go into effect WAJ is ready with redesigned auto brochures that members can use to help educate clients and local community citizens.

Understanding Auto Insurance lays out the basics of automobile insurance and what is required in Wisconsin as a result of changes in our laws.

What To Do If You Are In A Traffic Accident details the proper steps to take after a traffic accident, including gathering necessary information and seeking medical help.

Space has been left on each of the brochures for members to place contact information for law firms including a firm logo.  Email Jane Garrott at jgarrott@wisjustice.org with contact information and she will have the information added to the brochures and sent to members in a file ready for printing.  Members can then take the brochures to a local printer for printing the number of copies wanted for each office.

Family Justice Bill Gets Moving
The Family Justice Bill, Senate Bill 203 and Assembly Bill 291, is a long-standing priority for WAJ. The bill allows adult children of single parents or the parents of single adult children the right to seek recourse against negligent doctors. Under current law, parents of a single adult child, or the adult children of unmarried or widowed parents cannot seek recourse for a wrongful death caused by medical malpractice through the civil justice system.  Wisconsin is one of just a handful of states with such a law and it is considered to be the most restrictive in the nation.

This bill has had public hearings in both the Senate and the Assembly Committees.  WAJ leadership was on hand to testify in support of the bill along with members of a number of families directly affected by this unfair loophole in the law.  The bills were voted out of their respective committees and await floor action.  WAJ remains optimistic that this bill can advance through both houses of the legislature this fall.

The families have created a Facebook page devoted to this cause and it can be found here.

Federal Healthcare Debate is Riddled with Misinformation
There has been a lot of bad information floating around the healthcare debate when it comes to medical malpractice and the effects of litigation on the healthcare system. Here are a few points to keep in mind:

  • Medical malpractice should not be a bargaining chip.  Healthcare reform is about making sure that every American has access to quality, low-cost healthcare, not about limiting the legal rights of innocent patients harmed by medical negligence.
  • The cost of the malpractice system is minute – 1/3 of one percent in Wisconsin. 
  • Taking away patient rights does not improve the quality of our healthcare system or produce cost savings.  Forty-eight states have already enacted medical malpractice reform measures.  Yet these legal restrictions have done nothing to improve our healthcare system, reduce costs, or help people harmed by medical negligence.
  • Medical malpractice is about real people with real injuries.  The Institute of Medicine estimates that 98,000 people die each year in the U.S. from preventable medical errors (the 6th leading cause of death in America).
  • Defensive medicine is a myth.  Both the Government Accountability Office and Congressional Budget Office question the prevalence of defensive medicine, and have detailed how tampering with the legal system will save practically no money.  Some so-called defensive medicine may be motivated more by profit and less by liability concerns.

This is an important debate in our country and WAJ encourages you to get involved and help spread the truth about these issues.  For more information on this issue, go to AAJ’s website.

Tort & Technique Seminar October 9 in Madison
WAJ proudly welcomes Sylvius von Saucken of the Garretson Law Firm in Cincinnati, Ohio to the Tort & Technique Seminar on Friday, October 9 at the Edgewater Hotel in Madison.  Mr. von Saucken will discuss the new Medicare law and how it affects plaintiff’s ability to settle single event and mass tort personal injury claims after July 1, 2009.  Four presenters will discuss social media websites including how to protect your clients’ content and privacy, trying to control your clients’ use of social media postings and the benefit of using social media websites.  There will also be WAJ, legislative, tort and ethics updates and short shots.  Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi will be speaking to the Women’s Caucus over lunch.  Register for the program here.

Women’s Caucus Seminar and Retreat Update
Forty-two WAJ women members and law students attended the 2nd Annual Women’s Caucus Seminar and Retreat at Glacier Canyon Lodge Conference Center in Wisconsin Dells.  The Women’s Caucus event kicked off its mentoring program with a “speed dating” exercise.  It was a great way for the lawyers and law students to meet each other and talk about the practice of law.  Former AAJ Past President Kathleen Flynn Peterson of Minneapolis gave a presentation on Friday morning that was well received by the group.  The program evaluations for the presentations on depositions and the short shots were enthusiastic and positive.  Brenda K. Sunby of Wausau takes the reins of Chair of the Women’s Caucus from Jill A. Rakauski of Racine.  Linda V. Meagher of Waukesha was elected Women’s Caucus Vice Chair for 2009-10. The atmosphere of the event was enthusiastic and upbeat and everyone is looking forward to the Seminar and Retreat in 2010, scheduled for September 23-24, 2010.  Mark your calendar!

Traumatic Brain Injury Seminar
The Wisconsin Association for Justice partnered with the Brain Injury Association of Wisconsin to offer the first WAJ seminar ever to help attorneys gain better understanding of traumatic brain injuries.  The seminar was held at the Country Springs Hotel in Waukesha on August 21st and featured a variety of experts on the medical, neuropsychological, biomechanical and legal aspects of understanding, presenting and proving damages associated with brain injuries.  Nearly sixty people attended and all proceeds from the seminar were donated to the Brain Injury Association of Wisconsin.

Justice Fund Phoneathons Help Grow Fund
WAJ Board members gathered in offices across the state to join together in reaching out to all WAJ members to encourage them to become members of the Justice Fund.  The Justice Fund is a political conduit that allows WAJ members to pool their money in support of candidates that support the civil justice system.

Board members made hundreds of calls and recruited many new members into the Justice Fund.  Efforts will continue to add members throughout the year.  The 2010 elections are even more important with the recent decision by Governor Doyle not to seek reelection.

“Recent legislative victories can be quickly undone if we are not diligent in our support of pro-civil justice candidates in the next election,” explained WAJ President Mark Thomsen.  “As an organization we must remain committed to this cause.  We need all WAJ members to do what they can as members of the Justice Fund.”Justice Fund


Wisconsin Association for Justice
44 East Mifflin Street, Suite 402, Madison, WI 53703
tel: (608) 257-5741 • fax: (608) 255-9285
email: info@wisjustice.org


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