The New York State Bar Association today calls on the House of Representatives to reject a bill (H.R. 1215) that would impose new restrictive federal rules when injured New Yorkers file medical malpractice suits against doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and others, even in state courts.
“Such federal activity would usurp the states’ rights to develop their own tort law, which has developed in New York for more than two centuries,” said State Bar President Sharon Stern Gerstman.
“Not withstanding our view that this subject is properly within the realm of the states,” she said, “the Association opposes proposals that would impair the rights of injured patients and families of those killed or injured by negligent action in our health care system.”
H.R. 1215, misnamed the “Protecting Access to Care Act,” for example, would mandate a $250,000 federal cap on nonmonetary medical malpractice awards, such as for pain and suffering. These caps discriminate against women who do not work outside the home, the elderly and children. The act also imposes new federal deadlines for filing a medical malpractice claim.
The New York State Bar Association’s Memorandum in Opposition to H. R. 1215 is available at: http://www.nysba.org/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=73713.
The 72,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.
Contact: Lise Bang-Jensen
Director of Media Services & Public Affairs