"Hey Sam, did you read about the lawsuit where the neurosurgeon operated on the wrong side of the patient's brain?"
"Yeah. I wonder how a brain surgeon could have made such a simple mistake?"

When was the last time that you actually read about a "FRIVOLOUS" lawsuit in the newspaper or one that was reported on TV? Sure there are some stupid lawsuits that should never have been brought; look at the Judge who sued his dry cleaner for thousands of dollars because the dry cleaner destroyed his pants.

But really. Think about the last time you heard about a frivolous medical malpractice case in New York. I haven't heard of one in a long time, and I've been in this business for over 21 years.

I know that when a doctor is sued for providing negligent care and being careless, 99 times out of a 100 they feel they did nothing wrong. Yet the injured victim has a totally different opinion. When you have two competing opinions, where each side has their own medical experts to support their position, if a jury ultimately sides with the doctor, does that mean that the patient's lawsuit was "Frivolous?"

If the patient wins, does that mean that the doctor should have never defended the lawsuit, since his defense was "Frivolous?"

Personally, I think this is semantics; a play on words. Each side can manipulate their viewpoint to show how the other side's position was "frivolous" at the end of the case. What does that mean for the argument for or against the way medical malpractice lawsuits are handled here in New York and throughout the country?

It means that you need to look at the fundamentals of why we, as citizens of this State and Country, are permitted to bring lawsuits. The reasoning even goes back to Talmudic (ancient biblical) times. If someone causes harm to another, they must pay. It's as simple as that. The payback includes actual costs; the cost to replace a destroyed item as well as the intangible cost- the suffering caused when the incident occurred.

Our common law adapted those basic fundamental rights, and gave citizens the absolute right to seek compensation in a Court of law. That rule of law applies to anyone in any State in the United States. If you are a company and a competitor stole your secrets; you have an absolute right to go to court and try to prove that you were wronged and seek compensation from the wrongdoer.

If you are in a business that makes T-shirts and you hired a vendor to supply you with special t-shirts and the vendor breached his contract and you lost hundreds of thousands of dollars; you have an absolute right to go into court claiming breach of contract and try to prove that you're entitled to be compensated for your business losses.

If those businesses lost their cases, for whatever reason, does that mean that they had "Frivolous" cases? If they won their cases, does that mean the people or companies that they sued had "Frivolous" defenses? You see the semantics and how this word "frivolous" has little meaning depending on who won or who lost?

The next time you read about "Frivolous" lawsuits here in New York or anywhere in our great United States of America ask yourself who is claiming the case was frivolous? The winner or loser? Then you'll have a better understanding of their agenda and why they want people to think cases are frivolous.

To learn more about why we need to talk about frivolous lawsuits during jury selection, I invite you to watch the video below...

Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer
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