Posts tagged ‘Dow Corning’

Enjoy the NFL This Weekend, You May Not Have It For Long

I think Walter Olson is dead on with this:

Steve Chapman at the Chicago Tribune looks at the cultural and legal responses to the mounting evidence that professional football inflicts brain damage on many of its players. He quotes my view that if the litigation system carries over to football the legal principles it applies to other industries, the game isn’t likely to survive in its current form.  [sorry for quoting the whole thing Walter, I just couldn't figure out how to excerpt it]

There is a very good chance that the NFL could go the way of Johns Manville or Dow Corning.  Those companies still exist after being sued into bankruptcy, but that is only because they had other businesses to shift into.  The NFL just has football.  And after reading the concussion stories recently, plaintiff's lawyers are going to have a hell of a lot better scientific case than they had with breast implants.    I honestly think it will take an act of Congress to keep the NFL alive, giving them some sort of liability exemption similar to what ski resorts got years ago.

And don't think the NFL does not know this.  If you are wondering why they handed out insanely over-the-top penalties for bounty-gate in New Orleans, this is why.  They are working to establish a paper trail of extreme diligence on player safety issues for future litigation.

As an aside, I find it frustrating that there is not a better helmet solution.

As a second aside, there is a guy here in Phoenix who was showing off an accelerometer for football helmets, with some kind of maximum single g-force or cumulative g-force trigger that would cause a player to be pulled from a game, sort of like how a radiation badge works.  Good idea.  Look for these to be mandatory equipment in high schools in colleges.    Takes the absurd guess work out of concussion diagnosis today, particularly since this diagnosis is done by people (the player and their team) who have strong incentives to decide that there was no concussion.

As a third aside, there are those who argue helmets are the problem.  Just as people drive less safely with seat belts and air bags in cars, helmets lead to less care on the field.  I will say I played rugby for years (without a helmet of course) and never had one concussion, or any head hit anywhere close to a concussion.  In amateur rugby in the leagues I played in, reckless behavior that might lead to injuries was strongly frowned upon and punished by the group.  Teams that played this way quickly found themselves without a game.  There were plenty of ways to demonstrate toughness without trying to injure people.

Renouncing My Place of Birth

I am renouncing my place of birth.  No, not my country.  For all its faults, I love the United States and miss it when I am away.  And no, not my birth state of Texas, despite its perceived great Satan status among the media elite.  I am not even renouncing my birth city of Houston, despite the fact I don't think I could ever return to the traffic and humidity.  I am taking the bold, original step of renouncing my birth hospital.  I was born at St. Luke's in the Texas Medical Center, and they are apparently going over to the dark side:

St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital's famed medical tower will soon be renamed for a
Houston lawyer who has made millions taking the health care industry to trial.

The plan to rename the edifice after John O'Quinn in recognition of a $25
million donation by his foundation has infuriated many St. Luke's doctors, who
last week began circulating a petition against it and Monday night convened an
emergency meeting of the medical executive committee.

"Perhaps you are unaware of the intensity of feelings held by many physicians
about Mr. John O'Quinn," says the petition, which is addressed to the Rev. Don
Wimberly, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas and chairman of the St.
Luke's Episcopal Health System board of directors. "The primary source of his
financial success has been representing plaintiffs in medical liability and
products liability cases, many of them groundless."

Where does the money come from?  In part from O'Quinn's baseless but infuriatingly successful suits over breast implants, which no serious medical study have shown to be dangerous:

A plaintiff's lawyer who often has sued doctors, O'Quinn made some of his
fortune on litigation involving breast implants, which bankrupted a company (Dow
Corning) even though the consensus later developed that the science didn't back
up the claims.

Another part of the money comes from pushing bogus asbestos claims that have kept most of the asbestos settlement money out of the hands of the truly sick:

In July 2005, a Corpus Christi federal judge fined O'Quinn's law firm for its
part helping to produce what she called bogus diagnoses involving the
occupational illness silicosis, a serious and occasionally fatal lung disease.
She said the claims "defy all medical knowledge" and the diagnoses were about
"litigation rather than health care."

More on the growing scandal in asbestos screening here and hereOverlawyered has the whole store here, as well as links to plenty of background on Mr. O'Quinn.