58 S.M.U. L. Rev. 225 (2005)
Who Are Those Guys - An Empirical Examination of Medical Malpractice Plaintiffs' Attorneys

handle is hein.journals/smulr58 and id is 235 raw text is: WHO ARE THOSE Guys? AN EMPIRICAL
EXAMINATION OF MEDICAL
MALPRACTICE PLAINTIFFS' ATTORNEYS
Catherine T. Harris*
Ralph Peeples**
Thomas B. Metzlofft***
I. INTRODUCTION
ORT reform and medical malpractice litigation are once again in
the news. Medical malpractice insurance premiums increase dra-
matically. Physicians complain. Insurers blame the tort system and
invoke the litany of rapidly escalating jury awards won by those grasping
for straws and rapacious plaintiffs' lawyers. National and local medical
associations call for reform, while physicians in high-risk specialties talk
about curtailing or even abandoning their practices.' Calls for tort re-
form become louder and more insistent as President George W. Bush
takes up the call for changes such as dollar caps on the amount of non-
economic damages that a jury may award.2 Across the nation, bills are
introduced at the federal and state level to impose limitations on medical
malpractice litigation.3 Plaintiffs' lawyers, and some insurance industry
* Wake Forest University. This research was supported with funding from the Rob-
ert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, New Jersey, Grant I.D. #027071. The authors
gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Professor Michael Green, Wake Forest University
School of Law. Direct all correspondence to Ralph Peeples, Box 7206, Wake Forest
University  School of Law, Winston-Salem, North     Carolina 27109. E-mail:
rpeeples@law.wfu.edu.
** Wake Forest University School of Law.
*** Duke University School of Law.
1. See, e.g., Sheri Hall, Malpractice Rates Drive Off Doctors, DETROIT NEWS, Oct. 25,
2004, at Al; American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, News Release, Medical
Liability Survey Reaffirms More Ob-Gyns Are Quitting Obstetrics (July 16, 2004), available
at www.Acog.orglfrom home/publications/press-releases/nr7-16-04.cfm (last visited Feb.
21, 2005); American Medical Association, Medical Liability Reform- Now! at 5-7 (2004),
available at http://www.ama-assn.org/go/mlrnow (last visited Feb. 21, 2005). For a thought-
ful and concise discussion of the problem of medical malpractice, see David Studdert et al.,
Medical Malpractice, 350 NEW ENG. J. MED. 283 (2004).
2. See, e.g., Peter Baker, Bush Campaigns to Curb Lawsuits; President Says 'Junk'
Litigation is Driving Small-Town Doctors Out of Business, WASHINGTON POST, Jan. 6,
2005, at Al; Tanya Albert, Bush Stumping for Liability Reform in Judicial Hellhole,
AMEDNEWS.COM    (Jan. 24, 2005), at http://www.ama-assn.orglamednews/2005/01/24/
gusbOl24.htm (last visited Feb. 18, 2005).
3. See, e.g., Tanya Albert, Doctors to Storm States for Tort Reform, AMEDNEws.COM
(Jan. 17, 2005), at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2005/01/gvsaOll7.htm (last visited
Feb. 18, 2005); Stephanie Francis Ward & Siobhan Morrissey, Tort Reform Gaining Trac-
tion: Lawyers Predict Election Success Will Spur Federal Efforts, ABA JOURNAL E-RE-

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