Curb the lawsuit racket
To the Editor:
One of the most outrageous tainted acts by a local judge is refusing to allow a jury to issue a verdict in the recent Clifford Emons/Jane Schwartz negligence lawsuit against the Rosewood Care Center of Alton.
The jury was only allowed to determine a $20,000 award to Emons who was acting as a special administrator for the estate of Jane Schwartz.
Schwartz had fallen at the nursing home and subsequently died. After deciding the verdict, Madison County Circuit Judge Andreas Matoesian awarded $99,000 in legal fees without substantive authority or justification, to the plaintiff attorneys.
Having been a resident of a nursing home in the past, I know what goes on in some of these kind of lawsuits. When people get old they become frail. It is impossible to prevent a mobile resident of a nursing home from falling. Relatives, friends or a power of attorney who are unable or unwilling to be a care provider, put the old person in a nursing home, knowing that they may fall.
Usually, Medicare and Medicaid bear the expenses for the resident's stay in a nursing home. The resident's death invariably comes from a natural cause, not negligence. (Death following from a fall by a mobile or cognizant resident is a natural cause of death). Then the racket (in my opinion) begins with the willing and eager participation of the judiciary.
There is an effective way to stop this racket by law: Medicare and Medicaid should be reimbursed from the plaintiff's award and attorneys fees for the nursing home resident's long term care and any medical expenses.
Making the individual votes of the circuit judges to select and keep associate judges as a public record (by law) will also curb this racket.
Lawyers should be discouraged from filing unjustified lawsuit against nursing homes by substantive law. Rules of any court are not substantive law.