In this INSIDER EXCLUSIVE NETWORK TV SPECIAL, “JUSTICE in AMERICA – The Truths & Myths of Tort Reform”, we visit with Richard Steagall, Partner Nicoara & Steagall.
As the Insider Exclusive Investigative News team travels across America producing the “Justice in America” Network TV Series, we invite you to join us ….as we uncover real stories about the issues that promote justice and fairness for injured people… safeguards victims’ rights… and the opportunity to help guide the hands of justice – Especially when people’s lives have been destroyed, families ruined, dreams lost, or widespread societal change and reform are needed.
These true stories are about real “ordinary” people… their real lives … always up close and personal and always unfiltered stories of unimaginable pain, suffering, and great wrongs… but also of courage and faith and the dauntlessness of the human spirit.
These stories are also about the trial lawyers who helped these “ordinary people” navigate a very complex legal system to “get justice” as they faced extreme life-altering adversities, and how the government and big business with their million dollar PR Campaigns are slowing eroding our rights to seek justice….and making an end run around the civil justice system.
Our TV Stories show relief and vindication for shattered lives and seemingly lost souls. The compassion, warmth, love, and determination of the human spirit found within these shows are neither imagined nor contrived. They are truly personal crusades and telling journeys of what it means to seek justice in an American Courtroom.
As we take you inside today’s legal system, examining lawyers strategies, and clients thoughts, and in vivid detail…. showing you the often heartbreaking stories of these clients, dramatically demonstrating what motivates Trial lawyers to fight for their clients causes.
Some of these same trial lawyers have been in the crosshairs of attacks by so-called “Tort Reform” Advocates, for the past 30 years . These attacks are not new.
Now a lot of you have heard and read about “Tort Reform”, but really don’t understand how or what it really means…. or how it affects us “Negatively….every time we walk into the courtroom
So in this Special Network TV Insider Exclusive Documentary…. “JUSTICE in AMERICA – The Truths & Myths of Tort Reform”….We will show you how Tort Reform is making Justice more and more difficult for the Average American
And we’re not going to do it by words…or fancy language….but by inviting you along to meet our Guests in small and big towns across America who’ve had the unfortunate bad luck to be severally injured or victimized by Big Businesses…the Government….or Law Enforcement
These victims could be you or me one day….And if you are so unlucky, you will quickly find out that Justice in America is a hard won battle, where very few companies and individuals “Do the Right Thing”…and you need trial warriors who wage a battle with their own financial resources to get their clients justice.
But before we get started…just for the Record…let’s define what the heck “Tort Reform” means in simple language:
Tort is a legal term…. describing the system of compensation used by the courts to assign remedies, awards and damages for harm done by one party to another, be it to their person, property or other protected interests.
Tort Law defines what constitutes a legal injury and establishes liability (it is the civil court’s answer to criminal law).
Tort reform, then is the political term for the controversial issue of reducing tort litigation, awards, damages and/or compensation.
Now…Tort reform isn’t one single idea or law. Instead, it’s a group of ideas and laws designed to change the way our civil justice system works.
While each tort reform law is different, they all share one or more of the following goals:
To make it more difficult for injured people to file a lawsuit.
To make it more difficult for injured people to obtain a jury trial.
To put limits on the amount of money injured people receive in a lawsuit.
Keep in mind that throughout history, our civil justice system has kept Americans safe by allowing them a fair chance to receive justice when they are injured by the negligence of others – even when it means taking on the most powerful corporations.
When corporations and their CEOs act irresponsibly by cutting corners on safety, producing unsafe products, polluting our environment or swindling their employees and shareholders, the last resort to hold them accountable is in our courts.
The legal system provides justice to those injured by deliberate misconduct and deters future misconduct by holding wrongdoers accountable.
Here’s just a quick review of a few “Justice in America” Network TV Show Segments of these Real Case Stories of ……
“Ordinary People”…… Their real lives ……
And their Trial Lawyers
Who’ve helped these “ordinary people” navigate a very complex legal system to “get justice” as they faced extreme life-altering adversities…
Real cases… that promote justice and fairness for injured people… safeguards victims’ rights… and the opportunity to help guide the hands of justice –
Especially when people’s lives have been destroyed, families ruined, dreams lost, or widespread societal change and reform are needed.
And how the Government and Big business are slowing eroding our rights to seek justice….making an end run around the civil justice system…. and calling it “Tort Reform”
New York’s Finest First Responders – Barbara Burnette’s Story
Despite NY Finest First Responders heroic efforts and achievements rescuing victims and rebuilding Manhattan, the City of New York failed to provide proper facial ventilators to clean-up workers and first responders. More than 10,000 workers experienced serious health problems as a result of inadequate preparation to work at Ground Zero.
After 7 years of litigation to hold the City responsible for their negligent actions, Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo, in November 2010, successfully negotiated a $625 Million settlement paid to these workers. In 2011, President Obama signed into law the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act allocating $4.2 billion to create the World Trade Center Health Program.
Emma Thompson – Human Rights USA – Victims of Violence
Asylum-seekers are some of our nation’s most deserving immigrants, yet they are usually an afterthought when immigration reform is discussed.
As the United States considers comprehensive immigration reform, we call on Congress to include key changes to the U.S. asylum system to better ensure that refugees who seek the protection of the United States are afforded meaningful access to a fair, effective and timely asylum adjudication process. Sadly, this group of deserving immigrants is usually absent from discussions of immigration reform.
“KATRINA JUSTICE – A Preventable Disaster”
The Katrina Canal Breaches Litigation claimed that the Army Corps’ negligence in design, construction, and maintenance of MR-GO increased Katrina’s storm surge and made the levee system more vulnerable than it otherwise would have been. But the Corps argued its acts were shielded by governmental immunity.
In a “judicial flip-flop”, the US Fifth Circuit, first decided in favor of the plaintiffs, represented by Joe Bruno, and then completely reversed itself, 6 months later, claiming they had misunderstood the facts the first time around! Unbelievable!
“UNBREAKABLE – The Peggy Myers Story”
Peggy Myers’s lawyer, Bob Palmer, successfully settled this case.
A decade ago, Ohio passed so-called tort reform laws which severely limited jury awards in negligence and malpractice cases. Supporters say the laws have helped Ohio’s economy; victims say it lets wrong-doers off the hook.
“The Truth About Medical Malpractice Suits:The Sharon Boxie Louisiana Injustice Story”
A jury awarded Sharon Boxie $5 Million dollars for permanent injuries caused by the medical malpractice of her doctors, which was reduced by Louisiana statute to $500,000.
Louisiana Medical Malpractice 1975 “Tort Reform” Caps punish victims of incompetent and negligent doctors to a life of pain and misery without just compensation, limiting the total damages to a maximum of $500,000. The legislature has never adjusted this amount, nor has it ever reconsidered, in the past 39 years, whether a cap is still necessary in Louisiana in order to accomplish the objective of lowering malpractice premiums.
Gerry Spence – Ford’s Deadly Truck Defects – Allison v. Ford
The Spence Law Firm successfully settled this case . “Tort Reform” laws protect Corporations like Ford and makes it more difficult to recover damages for your injuries. The corporations behind the tort reform movement simply have too much to gain to be trusted with something as crucial to our democracy as the civil justice system. The civil justice system belongs to and benefits all of us.
Justice in America – Darrel Parker’s Story
Herb and Dan Friedman, Darrel Parker’s lawyers, successfully won a $500,000 settlement under the Nebraska Wrongful Conviction Act and a rare Public Apology from the State’s Attorney General.
Wrongful convictions occur every month….. in every state in this country….. and the reasons are all varied and all the same: Bad police work, junk science, faulty eyewitness identifications, bad defense lawyers, lazy prosecutors, as well as arrogant prosecutors.
All Americans have the right to a fair trial, honest cops, impartial prosecutors, and fair judges with No Agendas…
The Truth About Medical Malpractice Suits: The Rebecca Gatti Story of Wrongful Birth
Louisiana is pretty unique among states in that it has enacted a cap on the total amount of damages available to a plaintiff, not just a limit on certain categories of damages. Louisiana limits total damages awards to $500,000 in medical malpractice cases, with the exception that costs of future medical care are not subject to the cap and are paid out through the state Patient’s Compensation Fund.
So the Louisiana taxpayers now pay for the injuries and deaths caused by the incompetent and/or negligent doctors and hospitals. The Gatti’s family attorney, John Hammons successfully settled this case.
Not In Good Hands – American Family Insurance & The Galen Richey Story
Galen Richey’s lawyer, Brian McCallister, took on American Family Insurance and got justice for Galen Richey with a record verdict of $13 million, upheld by the Missouri Court of Appeals.
The jury also taught American Family Insurance the real meaning of:
Real shoulders to lean on
Delivering much more than a policy and “peace of mind”
Being truly helpful and caring
And especially, keeping their promises
ANTHEM -BLUE CROSS – (Our Motto) “PROFITS OVER PEOPLE” – The Esther Dardinger Story
In a perfect world insurance companies would always do the right thing. Yet in reality the industry harbors…. a dirty little secret.. “People are giving them money for something they will never receive”. “What that really means is they’re selling uncollectible insurance.”
Bob Palmer, the Dardinger’s lawyer, took on Anthem-Blue Cross and won a record breaking $51.5 million award, including $49 million in punitive damages.
On December 20, 2002, the Ohio Supreme Court levied a damage award for $32.5 million – including $30 million in punitive damages – against Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield for breach of contract and bad faith. The bottom line was….as the Ohio Supreme Court clearly stated:
‘Anthem Blue Cross put “Profits before People”….And didn’t live up to their TV Commercials and Public Relations promises”!’
CANCER DISCRIMINATION – Sandra Knott’s “Death Race for Justice”
Jill Telfer, Sandra Knott’s attorney successfully settled her lawsuit against Sandra’s employer, Folsom Prison.
Folsom Warden Tim Virga, and the Assistant Warden, Laura Eldridge had denied Sandra Knott’s legitimate pleas for “reasonable accommodation”, legally allowed under the American Disabilities Act, which she was entitled to, due to the extreme fatigue and nausea she suffered as a result of her chemotherapy treatments.
“Tort Reform” laws sometimes encourage Governmental Agencies to ignore the “reasonable accommodations” of the American Disabilities Act.
Disability Insurance Expose – UNUM Insurance & Dr Anthony Sterling’s Story
Frank Winkles, successfully represented Dr Anthony Sterling to force Unum Disability Insurance Company to honor their own disability policies.
Unum has written disability insurance policies for approximately 17 million Americans, making it the largest disability insurance provider in the US. – collecting billions in premiums every year.
UNUM had systematically denied Unum disability insurance claims to thousands of policy holders in the past two decades. Under investigation and pressure from the Department of Labor (DOL), they were ordered to allow for reassessment of any denied policy holder.
FRACKING – Dangerous Contamination – Bob and Lisa Parr’s Story
It is imperative for each of us to educate ourselves about this disastrous technology. By understanding the magnitude of the threat, we can protect future generations. The industry is aggressively clamping down on local and state efforts to regulate fracking by buying influence and even bringing lawsuits to stop them from being implemented.
Wall Street‘s $336 Billion Fraud – Auction Rate Securities
Wall Street investment firms, including Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and UBS AG who marketed “Auction Rate Securities” deceptively and illegally as being a safe investment, even though it was later found otherwise and investors had been misled. Many were told that the market for ARS , was “Completely safe. Completely liquid….Just another form of Triple-A rated cash equivalents”.
What they failed to disclose to their clients was that the financial market was in serious trouble and only when the investors were told the then-$336 billion market was “frozen” in early 2008 did investors learn that it was a scam; underlying bonds and preferred stocks were not liquid at all, but distressingly long term.
“FOOTBALL HEAD INJURIES – Clay Rush’s Story”
Steve Shapiro, Clay’s attorney, successfully settled a confidential multi-million dollar settlement for his client. Clay’s lawsuit alleged a doctor improperly sent him back into a ’08 game after two concussions.
Since then, the NFL and NFL Properties has settled lawsuits brought by 4,500 former players over brain injuries suffered on the field with a $765 million fund to provide medical benefits and injury compensation for retired NFL players, fund medical and safety research, and cover litigation expenses.
These are just a few of real Americans who have dealt with our legal system that is gradually eroding in favor of Big Business and the Government because of “Tort Reform” legislation.
And this is why we all need to protect a legal system that is designed to protect us…and not one that protects Corporate Business or the Government over the common everyday American.
Rick has earned the highest respect from citizens and lawyers alike…. as one of the best Trial lawyers in Peoria…. In Illinois….. and across the nation. He’s driven to fight for people who deserve and need second chances.
His goals….. Not ONLY To get Justice for his clients…but to make sure that everyone is treated with equal respect and dignity as guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States. He has built a substantial reputation by consistently winning cases other law firms have turned down. His amazing courtroom skills and headline grabbing success rate continue to provide his clients with the results they need……And the results they deserve.
You can contact Rick Steagall @ Nicoara & Steagall (309) 674-6085