TORT REFORMERS LOSE A ROUND . . . In November, 2005, an article by Mimi Swartz in Texas Monthly got tort reformers so worked up that they were practically foaming at the mouth. The article -- "Hurt? Injured? Need a Lawyer? Too Bad!" -- made the case that "[i]n voting in tort reform, people in Texas didn't realize they had given up their rights in the process."
Here's how the Austin Chronicle described the reaction by the tort reformers to the article:
Texans for Lawsuit Reform is fighting mad at Texas Monthly over its November feature on tort reform, headlined "Hurt? Injured? Need a Lawyer? Too Bad!" Authored by Executive Editor Mimi Swartz, the article focused on the potential impact of tort reform on ordinary people, which sent TLR into a rhetorical tizzy.
"As published, the article reflects little serious research and no serious analysis, but is long on bombast and wrong on the law, wrong on the facts and devoid of balance," according to the organization's 12-page diatribe against the magazine posted on its Web site. The group also charged that the magazine is a tool of plaintiff lawyers, noting the "154 pages of paid 'Super Lawyers' vanity advertising in the magazine's October issue."
"We expected a magazine like Texas Monthly to aim higher than republishing the disinformation of a special interest group whose direct stake in legislation ranges well into the hundreds of millions of dollars (or, in the case of its most opulent members, billions)," according to the group's statement.
Recognize the familiar lines of attack? The tort reformers were certainly hitting on all cylinders, attacking the article with non-sequitors like lawyers are too rich and anyone who disagrees with them must be a "tool of plaintiffs' lawyers."
I'm not sure how the attack made Swartz feel, but she must be feeling all right now, since her much-maligned article recently took first place in John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.
Swartz in good company. According to an account by the Houston Chronicle, "Previous winners for this prestigious magazine award include articles published in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Newsweek, Time and the Village Voice."
Lest anyone think that the John Bartlow Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism is just a tool for plaintiffs' lawyers, Swartz's article was also a finalist for an O. Henry Award from the Texas Institute of Letters and a 2006 National Magazine Award from the American Association of Magazine Editors.
Lest anyone think that I'm just a tool for plaintiffs' lawyers, please read this site's disclaimer and then decide for yourself.