January 25, 2011, Milwaukee, WI– As the recently passed tort reform bill makes its way to Governor Scott Walkers desk next week, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported today that personal injury attorneys are racing to file suits before the measure takes effect ten days after Walker signs.1 One of the key provisions of the new law is a limitation on non-economic damages for medical malpractice in nursing homes to $750,000 and a limit on punitive damages to $200,000 or twice the amount of compensatory damages, whichever is greater.
For weeks, president of the Wisconsin Association of Justice (WAJ) (formerly the Wisconsin Association of Trial Lawyers) J. Michael End has led the charge against the tort reform bill in the name of civil justice and accountability to counter what he has termed a corporate bailout plan that puts corporate profits and interests over peoples safety.2
But i recent years, personal injury attorneys have profited to the tune of millions due to Wisconsins weak tort laws. According to its website, the prominent law firm Habush Habush & Rottier claims $477,899,650 in verdicts and settlements in recent years.3 According to the website of Ends very own firm End, Heirseman & Crain, verdicts and settlements have secured a modest $28,252,000 for clients.4
Assuming the standard 40% fee, Habush Habush and Rottier have earned $191,159,650 in recent years while Ends firm earned just $11,800,300 in verdicts and settlements.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel even reports the End intends to file a suit on behalf of a client before the end of the week.
WAJs hypocrisy on the issue of tort reform needs to be brought to light. Their lip service to justice is tainted by their pursuit of profit. Actions really do speak louder than words as evidenced by the scramble of personal injury attorneys to file their cases before the loophole to excessive tort profit is closed.