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					                                                                                                         MLMIC Offices
                                                                                                             2 Park Avenue
                                                                                                          New York, NY 10016
                                                                                                            (800) 275-6564

                                                                                                            2 Clinton Square
                                                                                                           Syracuse, NY 13202
                                                                                                             (800) 356-4056

                                                                                                           90 Merrick Avenue
                                                                                                        East Meadow, NY 11554
                                                                                                             (877) 777-3560

                                                                                                      8 British American Boulevard
2004 Legislative Summary                                                                                   Latham, NY 12110
                                                                                                             (800) 635-0666


I  n the 2004 session, President Bush
   continued his call for nationwide tort
reform, including a cap on non-econom-
                                               measures, which were heavily lobbied by
                                               the trial lawyers, would have a significant
                                               negative effect on medical liability insur-
ic damages. Once again, the House              ance premiums, which are already
responded by passing a bill (HR4280),          obscenely high in New York State. These
which comprised a number of significant        included (S.2994, DeFrancisco/A.6637,
tort reforms, including a cap of               Weinstein) which would greatly expand
$250,000 on non-economic losses. The           damages in wrongful death cases;
Senate, however, did not address the           (A.6544, Weinstein/S.2588, Paterson),
issue of a comprehensive bill, but rather      which would alter current statute of limi-
considered a number of specialty specific      tation requirements so as to greatly
tort reform bills, none of which moved         expand the time period in which a
out of committee. While some propo-            patient can sue a medical provider;
nents have put their hopes for meaning-        (A.6707, Kaufman/S.4244, Meier) which
ful tort reform on the Federal govern-         would permit the application of pre-
ment, it appears that the Senate is con-       judgment interest in personal injury
tent to have the states deal with the issue.   actions; and, (S.320, DeFrancisco),
It remains clear, however, that the            which would repeal existing contingency
Republicans will make tort reform a            fee limitations on attorneys. With the
campaign issue this election year.             Legislature returning to Albany this sum-     Fager & Amsler’s knowledgeable attorneys
     In New York State, the Legislature        mer to address the budget issue, propo-       are available during normal business hours
failed to adopt a budget by the April 1st      nents of tort reform, such as Medical
deadline for the twentieth consecutive         Liability Mutual Insurance Company, the       to assist policyholders with a wide range
year. As of this writing (7/27/04), there      Medical Society of the State of New
                                                                                             of legal services, including, but not limited
has yet to be agreement on a budget.           York, and the Medical Liability Reform
Preoccupation with budgetary items,            Coalition will remain vigilant, as these      to, advisory opinions concerning liability
combined with the fact that 2004 is an         proposals could possibly re-gain legisla-
                                                                                             issues, liability litigation activities, lecture
election year, may very well have lead to      tive attention.
non-action by the legislature in a number           In other related actions, the            programs, consulting services, and legal
of areas. Once again, proponents of tort       Legislature passed (S.7636 Rules/
reform were unsuccessful in their legisla-     A.11711, Rules), which continues the          audits and assessments. Additionally,
tive efforts to secure meaningful tort         excess medical liability program through      hospital risk managers have exclusive
reform in a state where more and more          June 30, 2005. The measure also extends
evidence points to a flawed system. On         the authority of the Superintendent of        access to MLMIC’s 24-hour legal hotline:
the other hand, they were successful in        Insurance to set medical professional
                                                                                             (212) 576-9800 NY Metropolitan Area
keeping a number of regressive measures        liability rates for one more year.
from getting out of committee. These                                                         (877) 426-9555 Upstate NY



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