Monday, July 25, 2011

Not To Carp, Cavil, Censure, Or Castigate

Last month, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals upheld as constitutional a statute that places a cap on damages in professional malpractice cases.

A circuit court judge sitting by designation recently filed a dissent. The judge raises some questions:

 Why should a circuit court judge, honored to be sitting as a temporary justice in the MacDonald case, take the time (and have the effrontery) to dissent?

It is not because of the way I was treated by the Court. The entire Court was most deferential in considering my opinions.

It is not because I seek to carp, cavil, censure, or castigate our Supreme Court of Appeals.

In fact, I cannot allude to this Court without exultation. I have immeasurable respect for our Supreme Court and in particular for Justice Robin Davis, one of the brightest and most dedicated persons who have ever served on our highest state court.

It is not because I want to take issue with the high quality of medical care in West Virginia and the fact that doctors and other medical professionals needed some legislative help to control exorbitant malpractice insurance costs.

I dissent because, by this counterintuitive decision in this decisively important case, the justices capitulated to the West Virginia Legislature’s political-and unconstitutional-mistreatment of medical malpractice victims, and by its decision, delivered the coup de grâce to the rights of thousands of West Virginians to be fully compensated for losses caused by the negligence of medical professionals.

Hot coffee, anyone? (Mike Frisch)

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