October 1, 2010 Letters

first_img October 1, 2010 Letters October 1, 2010 Letters Letters Law and Medicine I read with interest the plan by Florida State University to publish an e-journal to increase the flow of information between the law and medicine. As someone who practiced medicine for several years before obtaining my law degree, I feel qualified to respond. My opinions relate solely to the legal practice of medical malpractice.The standard of care the law applies to physicians bears little resemblance to the standard with which they practice medicine. Upon prescribing medical treatment, the physician must ask, “Is there scientific proof that the treatment prescribed is effective?” This represents evidence-based medicine and stems from the peer-reviewed, scientific method.Unfortunately, the legal standard all too often reflects an expert’s own opinion devoid of any scientific basis. That opinion is purposefully framed in a persuasive manner to support the retaining party, which often encourages intellectually dishonest testimony. While judges have leeway under rules of evidence to exclude such testimony, few actually do as they lack the medical knowledge to honestly evaluate that testimony, which becomes a matter of fact.Of course, few med/mal cases are ever tried. Physicians thus throw up their hands in disgust, left alone to ponder how the law, supposedly about truth and justice, could support a system so flawed.These issues run much deeper, however, and strike at the core of honest and ethical representation of the physician.I see attorneys purposefully not filing dispositive motions on behalf of their physician-client for fear they might succeed, which dries up that revenue stream. I know of senior attorneys informing junior associates not to file motions for summary judgment for fear they may win. I am aware of a number of attorneys and even risk-management teams who refuse to cooperate, purely for financial reasons, with physicians who pursue proactive methods proven to reduce non-meritorious claims. They want those lawsuits as they represent billable hours. I point no fingers, as this simply “is.”The annual Gallup poll on Honesty/Ethics in Professions, in November 2009, found 65 percent of respondents rated physicians as either “very high” or “high.” Contrast that to only 13 percent for the legal profession. No doubt, the actions mentioned above contributed to those numbers. Why, as attorneys, do we do so little to correct this grave problem?A Harvard study found that 54 percent of monies awarded patients injured by negligence went to “administrative” costs, including attorney’s fees. The gross inefficiency of the system is unnecessary and is easily improved, if only the desire existed. This would benefit injured patients and help avoid costly and time-consuming frivolous claims and the resultant personal turmoil caused innocent physicians.I would challenge not only the FSU e-journal to explore these issues, but The Florida Bar to engage and work with the many national medical societies who have adopted expert witness guidelines to ensure those guidelines promote fair, honest, and ethical testimony.I lose little sleep that the public holds the law with such distain or that the law promotes such intellectual dishonestly when it comes to medical malpractice. I am greatly troubled, however, by the fact that so few attorneys seem to care. I pray for the legal profession that I am wrong.Robert W. Patton Clearwater Bar’s Website The Florida Bar has an alleged website. Allegedly, members and the general public can access that website for the purpose of finding a lawyer, checking on a lawyer, getting information regarding CLE, unauthorized practice of law, legal research on Fastcase, etc. It is, in fact, nearly impossible to gain any meaningful access to The Florida Bar website. It is without a doubt the most incompetently designed and maintained website I’ve ever tried to use.In the first place, it is unbelievably slow if and when it works at all. Usually it doesn’t work at all. Usually one gets the home page and nothing more. Sometimes, if you exit and try again, it will move on to the page you want, but more usually it doesn’t.In this “information age” in which we live and work, the Internet, and the ability to access it quickly and efficiently, is an indispensable fact of life. Businesses and organizations routinely operate good, useful, and valuable websites without any significant difficulty. Why is The Florida Bar’s website useless and worthless? Computer hardware and software have advanced to the point where top-flight systems can be obtained with great economy. We do not have to put up with a last-class website that does not work.Be assured that I am not alone in my criticism. Every lawyer I’ve spoken to who has tried to use The Florida Bar website has expressed the same thought. I suggest that the Bar assess its website with an eye to building one that we can use and be proud of.William E. Lowe Bradenton Editor’s Note: The Bar’s website is designed for optimum usability with Internet Explorer and Mozilla browsers. Based on user statistics, 96 percent of visitors access the site with these browsers. Other proprietary browsers create issues for users because they use a copy of the site from past visits rather than loading the live site. The Florida Bar is continuously working to improve its website and recently completed a major study involving hundreds of Bar members providing input and suggestions. The study recommendations are now being applied. Monthly, the site has more than 16.7 million hits and in the latest Bar Membership Opinion survey, 91 percent of Bar members said the site was average or above average in terms of its content and ease of use compared to other legal websites. Foreclosure I write from the frustrating foreclosure trenches of Palm Beach County to challenge the assumption that clearing the backlog of foreclosures is necessarily a good idea.The untested, unproven underlying assumption behind throwing millions of dollars at our court system to reduce the foreclosure backlog is that the sooner we clear ’em out, the sooner the houses can get back on the market; and although it might be bad at first, we can climb out of the hole that much quicker if we just get ’er done.This assumption is plain horse hockey. I don’t see it as my taxpayer civic duty to provide a clearinghouse beyond the norm for banks and speculative lenders, many of whom were downright deceptive and dishonest in how they generated all this hoopla in the first place.I’m not saying the lenders don’t get to have keys to the courthouse. I just don’t believe we need to make them their own special keys and give them their own office space and support system for free and over and above the legitimate needs of everyone else. It’s not just a dollars-and-cents issue either: Why should rapists, muggers, and less palatable crooks have to wait whilst we bend over backwards to help these lenders?I say horse hockey, because if the banks suddenly had control of more than 63,000 homes (the foreclosure backlog) in this county — just in time for Christmas — any recovery/stabilization of the housing market we’ve seen to date will crater with no end in sight. Additionally, right now some banks, seeing that they can’t just come in and throw a family into the street, have to deal with families. There is a business decision to be made that allows families to work it out with the lenders when the lenders know they have to otherwise wait a good long time.I say horse hockey, because the banks don’t really want these properties. The September 1 News touched on that, but only in passing. These banks don’t do anything to take care of the properties they get, and they stiff condo and homeowners’ associations every chance they get. Go ahead, try to sue them; you’ll wait a long time, since all our resources are going to do their dirty work.What we really need is to take both a liberal and a conservative attitude to this mess: Liberal, in that we need the courts to remember that foreclosure is a matter of equity and the homeowner should be protected as broadly as possible; conservative, in that most all government involvement should cease. That is, using nothing other than the common law and equity, the courts should simply be letting the parties work out full and fair common sense business solutions. As it is, even in court-ordered mediation, our hands are tied.For example, if a property is worth $200,000 and the loan is $300,000, and if next year that same property is going to be worth only $100,000, then let the parties agree to cut their losses and move on. Not fair to the banks? Then make the banks tell us how much of these losses were bailed out on.I know some people will react negatively to what I’m saying (can’t let deadbeats be rewarded), but we need to practice a bit of forgiveness and there-but-for-the-grace-of-God-go-I mentality. It does not matter what happened, why it happened, or who is to blame anymore. Foreclosures themselves are the problem. Putting people into the streets is going to be a bigger problem. Let’s simply cut our losses. Work it out. Live and let live.Tim Morell Boynton Beachlast_img read more

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Stretching a point

first_imgSubscribe now for unlimited access Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGINlast_img read more

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Spiker Kim may quit S. Korea team over contract dispute

first_img Playing hardball: South Korea’s Kim Yeon-koung, seen here at the London Olympics, is embroiled in a dispute with her former club team that could end the spiker’s career with the national team. | AP RELATED PHOTOS GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES South Korean volleyball superstar Kim Yeon-koung is threatening to retire from the national team unless she is released from a contract by her former club team Heungkuk Life Insurance.The 25-year-old Kim was the Most Valuable Player at the London Olympics and is considered one of the top players in the world. She has been an integral part of the South Korean team for several years. The root of the ongoing dispute lies in the contract language that ties her to Heungkuk for six years.center_img The 192-cm outside hitter played for the Seoul-based team for four years before joining the JT Marvelous in Osaka in 2009 for two seasons. After two campaigns in Kansai, Kim signed with Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce.Kim’s contention is that her two years in Japan were actually on a transfer basis and as a result she should be considered to have fulfilled her obligation to Heungkuk. The South Korean club disagrees and was backed up by the world governing body for the sport (FIVB) in a ruling last September.So Kim, who is seeking an International Transfer Certificate, is effectively blocked from playing anywhere until she is released by Heungkuk. The 2011 V-League Most Valuable Player is taking a stand over the row and says she wants the matter resolved by July 25.At a July 15 news conference in Seoul, where she was accompanied by both her attorney and agent, Kim was adamant that she would quit the national squad if an amicable resolution was not reached.“Problems with Heungkuk Pink Spiders make me very sad,” she was quoted as saying at the Korea Press Center. “If this problem can’t be resolved as soon as possible, I will retire from the national team.”On July 1 Heungkuk asked the Korean Volleyball Association to register her as a “voluntarily withdrawn player.” The club is standing firm and made its view clear in a news release of its own the same day.“For the past year, the team worked for an amicable solution of the matter, but Kim did not back down from her original stance,” the Pink Spiders said. “The team has provided unprecedented support and convenience (for Kim), and yet she has insisted on saying things that just aren’t true.”Heungkuk claims it is willing to consider releasing Kim, but only if she “upholds the regulations and sincerely apologizes to the team.”As the most decorated women’s player in South Korean history, Kim has considerable power and she knows it. If she were to quit the national team the impact would be devastating for a side that finished fourth at the London Olympics after losing to Japan in match for the bronze medal.The result in London was South Korea’s best showing in the Olympics since taking the bronze at the Montreal Games in 1976.So dominant a force in the sport is Kim that one analyst commented recently that the match against Japan in London “wasn’t Japan vs. South Korea, it was Japan vs. Kim Yeon-koung.”When South Korea played Japan in the London Olympic qualifying tournament in Tokyo back in May of 2012, Kim, who is known for both her soaring spikes and model-like looks, scored a match-high 34 points in a four-set victory for her team.It was the kind of dominating performance that left all in attendance that evening in amazement. Simply put, it confirmed that Kim may be the finest female athlete in the world in any sport.The dispute between Kim and Heungkuk was originally mediated by the Korean Volleyball Association, but Kim and her representatives contend that the arbitration process was unfair. They are threatening to take the issue to the Court of Arbitration for Sport or the South Korean legal system.Kim is one of the most popular female athletes in her country, and her fans voiced their displeasure over her treatment earlier this week by protesting outside the KVA offices in Seoul for several days.The stakes are even higher with the 2014 World Championship qualifying tournament set to be held in Komaki, Aichi Prefecture, in early September, followed by the Asian championships in Thailand later the same month.Kim’s absence at either event would be devastating for South Korea. It will be interesting to see who blinks first in this game of brinkmanship, but the reality is that the national team needs Kim a lot more than she needs them. IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5last_img read more

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