Missing Link Daily

A digest of the best of the blogosphere published each weekday and compiled by Ken Parish,  Gilmae, Gummo Trotsky, Amanda Rose, Tim Sterne, Stephen Hill and Saint.

Politics

Australian

Mark Bahnisch tries to avoid taking an obvious approach to the 2020 summit.  Robert Merkel shows no such compunction and Googles some of the 2020 Summit participants.  Another alternative for those not invited to the 2020 summit – Brendan Nelson’s listening tour.

Harry Clarke, Possum Comitatus and Gary Sauer Thompson achieve a rare unity ticket on the Murray-Darling water plan, though disagreeing on whether Victoria was actually bribed with an additional $1 billion. GS-T:

Under the Memorandum of Understanding signed at CoAG in Adelaide the Commonwealth Minister will have the power to determine the cap. However, the as-yet- unspecified cap on water extraction from the river system for irrigation will not become fully operational for more than a decade. The Murray-Darling Basin Authority will not produce a plan until 2011. The state’s existing water resource plans will remain in place until they expire . For SA this is 2012, 2014 for NSW and Queensland and 2019 for Victoria. Under the agreement the states maintain control of the water in their territory.  

Never mind about the Stolen Generations, in Queensland they go straight for the money. Andrew Bartlett on Stolen Wages.

jarraparilla on a Murdoch beat-up.

 Andrew Norton on demographic problems for the Liberal vote, and blue collar voters who won’t stick.

You probably don’t lie awake at night wondering whether US supermarket giant Walmart are a bunch of complete arseholes, or whether John McCain is an idiot.  You won’t after watching the video at right either.

International

Norman Geras looks at the achievements of Robert Mugabe and focuses on South Africa’s supine complicity as everyone waits for the “results” (including those in the photo at right who also had to wait to vote).  Virginia Simmons and aavey both speculate that Mugabe is about to claim victory anyway

Things may not be the best in Liberia either, but at least Alex Tabarrok has discovered they understand statistics and research methodology.

Andrew Bartlett looks at emerging if fragmentary boycotts of the Beijing Olympics, including by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Jonathan Pearce looks at youth gang violence in Britain and prescribes the counter-intuitive (if predictable for a libertarian) remedy of deregulation.

RWDB warbloggers and (strangely) John Quiggin argue that Sadr has lost in Basra as evidenced by offering a ceasefire, while Juan Cole argues that it just proves how powerful Iran now is in iraq and how GW Bush is irrelevant!


Economics

Joshua Gans posts more on his proposal for an Oz version of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, and casts a sceptical eye over the economics of time travel

Will Wilkinson doesn’t think much of Paul Krugman’s views on immigration or inequality:

Ive been reading The Conscience of a Liberal for the third time. This is not pleasant work. Reading a John Bates Clark Medal winner shouldnt feel this much like reading Ann Coulter. But it does. Liberal Fascism is a more intellectually evenhanded book, which says more about Krugman than it does about Liberal Fascism, Im afraid.


Law

Kim Weatherall has links and brief comments on mooted proposals for a three strikes and youre out policy, disconnecting copyright-infringing internet users. 


chuckle

Dreyer’s muse

simply a child

Rock formations Monument Valley

Issues analysis

Saint is hoping for some hoping for some nuanced all out denial of Jennifer Marohasy’s Plastic Bag mythology.11. saint: With my advance apologies to KP [] 22. KP: I don’t have a problem with this one.  In contrast to global warming, there really is some respectable scientific evidence favouring Marohasy’s approach on plastic bags, as highlighted by no less an authority than the Productivity Commission.  In fact, there’s little or no evidence that plastic shopping bags pose any environmental threat whatever [] 

tigtog on marketing flacks who think women want products that look pretty in pink.

Ophelia looks at one of those appalling “honour killing” situations in Pakistan (albeit one that hasn’t happened yet).

Norman Geras examines attempts by the British academics’ trade union to orchestrate a boycott of Israeli academics despite opposition from its members and the fact that it probably breaches anti-discrimination law.

Tarleton Gillespie takes a nuanced/sceptical look at technological determinism (including on the Internet and blogging).


Arts

Bernice Balconey posts a poem by Bruce Dawe, while Tim Train has one about a pile of books.

Perry Middlemiss extracts an article about Helen Garner on the eve of publication of her first novel in 15 years.

Marcellous reviews two nights at the opera in Sydney (Pilgrims Progress and Un ballo in maschera) and a SSO concert (Shostakovich and a newly commissioned work for viola and orchestra by Georges Lentz).

Explaining music through maths.

A comprehensive run down of the latest ep of So You Think You Can Dance?   Especially for Meryl Tankard, if she’s reading.


 Sport

 Tony is hoping, wishing and praying that his team can win three or less games. I’ve (gilmae?) always thought AFL is an odd sport.


Snark, strangeness and charm

Geert Wilder’s Fitna is odds-on favourite to be the centre of this week’s biggest RWDB v LWNP (left-wing namby-pamby) on-line cock-fight.

Pommygranate scored himself a link from Andrew Bolt with this post, which comes very close to arguing that anyone who doesn’t lavish fulsome praise on Wilder’s little 17-minute hate session is less than whole-hearted in their commitment to freedom of speech.

Currency Lad shows his commitment to this most central of western values by giving the film four out of five stars:

The score, effects, pace and structure of Fitna are all just about faultless for a short film whose theme is meant to linger in the mind for ongoing contemplation.

On the downside:

The methodology, however, is simply a high-art representation of the standard polemical device of quoting from the Koran and linking the words to violent events. Not original.

This entry was posted in Missing Link, Uncategorised by Ken Parish. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic at Charles Darwin University, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law) and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 12 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in he early 1990s.

49 thoughts on “Missing Link Daily

  1. Things may not be the best in Liberia either, but at least Alex Tabarrok has discovered they understand statistics and research methodology.

    I thought you guys would pick up on that one – it was one of the most surprising and cheering things I have read in a while. If people click on one link it should be that one!

    Norman Geras examines attempts by the British academics trade union to orchestrate a boycott of Israeli academics despite opposition from its members and the fact that it probably breaches anti-discrimination law.

    This is one of the most stinging damnations of the British academic’s trade union one can imagine. The fact that they are proud of it is incredible. Last time, they gave up when Columbia, UC and I think Yale (and a host of smaller institutions) said that they would self-impose any boycott on themselves.

    And of course I loved the Will Wilkinson link :)

  2. I love the bit in Quiggin’s post about how residents of the Green Zone having to stay indoors and wear body armour at all times because of the constant fear of artillery is a sign that the villains are losing. That actually made me think Quiggin had his tongue firmly in cheek.

  3. Yes I wondered about that; maybe it’s a piece of subtle Qugginish irony (but I’m not sure). JQ used to post irony alert tags, perhaps he should reinstate the practice.

  4. Oh and yes, it was me with the AFL comment. Amused at you re-uppercasing my name at the top of the page, but writing it lowercased in the query.

  5. The ‘strangely’ in parenthesis made me wonder if I had read too much into the Quiggin post. But no, I read too much into the ‘strangely’ :- )

  6. i honestly wasn’t aware that freedom of speech had become a ‘right wing’ issue. have the left wing namby-pambies given up on it, then? or is freedom from plastic bags more important now.

  7. The comment thread on your post, pommygranate, seems to show that even the people who agree with you on Fitna think you are soft on free speech; they disagree with some of the exceptions you allow. I can’t stand behind the text of the link above, but I also wouldn’t try parsing it as freedom of speech being an issue the left deem unimportant merely because they define the watershed differently to you.

  8. Not necessarily, Ken. But if you’ve been subsisting, as I have, on a diet of Ken Lovell, Jeremy Sears and Apathetic Gam, you tend to assume that everything is irony until there is information to the contrary.

  9. Are you people really serious about not getting John Quiggin’s sarcasm without tags, or are you just being sarcastic?

  10. PG

    I think you’ll find Saint was just alluding to last week’s stoush over global warming, not seeking to suppress freedom of speech. Moreover, my own sidenote was also indicating a measure of agreement with Marohasy on this issue. At least when you’re dealing with scientific issues, the existence or otherwise of probative evidence would seem to be a more useful starting point than arguing about freedom of speech. AFAIK no-one is suggesting that global warming denialism (or for that matter “creation science”) should be proscribed, just that they are silly positions without scientific support that should be treated with the contempt they both deserve. Moreover, if you’re purely talking about gilmae’s piece on your post about the anti-islam movie (despite the passing reference to plastic bags), then gilmae’s comment above should deal with your concern.

  11. James

    I’m afraid I don’t get time to read posts terribly carefully for irony when compiling ML (all I have time for is a very quick scan), especially where people send/post contributions without formatted links, while others don’t tick the “open in separate window” box despite repeated requests. This morning those added about 45 minutes of time to the task that I don’t have. Moreover, the arts section didn’t make an appearance at all until Amanda logged on just as I was finishing manufacturing it from thin air. I’m feeling grumpy.

  12. Wilkinson, as usual, is cherry-picking the data and misrepresenting Krugman.

    In this particular case the most important fact that he is leaving out is that immigrants into the US are willing to work for a sub-living wage because it is better than what it is available in their home countries. So, yes, wealth is being redistributed more efficiently, but only because it is setting up a permanent race to the bottom. His view only works out to the betterment of society at large if, and only if, labor laws are reformed first so that everyone who works in the US is guaranteed a living wage.

    Not that I’m against immigration, mind you. My take on immigration is mostly to simply let the flood gates open and to let the invisible hand of the market work its magic. But to do this before labor laws are reformed would be suicide for the US economy as a whole. The invisible hand, as it were, needs a bit of guidance to make certain that the playing field is even because, given the abject poverty of some nations, working for a substandard wage in the US looks very nice. And while it is true that a number of studies shows that immigration tends to raise wages for low skill manual labor, the fact of the matter is that the going rate is still not large enough to support a family.

    But what can you expect from the man whose response to the market failure of the sub-prime mortgage securities market is to further deregulate the banking industry?

  13. No, it was addressed to the ML team members. I use the WordPress/Google Docs “open in new window” function for all links so that readers can more easily use ML as a resource to look at lots of recommended blog posts and the ML window will stay open rather than needing to use the “back” button.

  14. While I’d normally be happy to sit back and let gilmae cop the flack for the link to PG’s post, it were actually me what wrote up the discussion of Fitna as odds-on favourite for on-line cock-fight of the week.

    As for freedom of speech becoming a ‘right-wing’ issue – this debate is basically a re-run of the closing land race sequence of Far and Away with various bloggers riding their high-horses balls out in the general direction of the moral high ground. All very boring. As an exercise of free speech, Wilders’ film is a bit more sophisticated than spray painting “Lebos out!” on a wall somewhere but it serves the same purpose.

    (Quinte & coup droite)

  15. Walmarts are not arseholes.

    They covered that woman’s health expenses 100% of the cost. She then sued the trucking company as a result of the accident and won the medical expenses. She doesn’t deserve to double dip as that simply isn’t allowed in the US and no insurance company could let that go.

    I’m pretty sure that it was walmarts insurance company that sued for the claw back anyway or the administrators of the insurance plan.

    This is just the usual beat up on Walmarts.

  16. God damn it, Jc! Now I can only lose one finger to gangrene and still be able to count the number of times a blog changed my mind. I’m running out gangrenable digits!

  17. The whole “pretty in pink” meltdown is quite funny. Did the hivemind ever stop to think that chicks wear pink coz they like it?

  18. It’s irrelevant what Walmart was legally entitled to do, or who made the decision. The fact is, suing a woman for an amount of money that to Walmart is pocket change, but that she will never ever be able to pay (she’s wheelchair bound, lost almost all short-term memory, and pretty much refined to a nursing home the rest of her life) is just plain cruel. I don’t see how the damages awarded initially could possibly cover the woman’s expenses for the rest of her life – she’s 52, divorced with 3 kids to support, and requiring special care: $400000 wouldn’t last 5 years, let alone the 30+ it would need to were she to match average life expectancy.

    I will say though that such outcomes are hardly surprising in a country that generally makes as little effort as possible to take care of those that can’t take care of themselves.

  19. Oh and Wal-Mart’s excuse that it is “bound by very specific rules” and acted “out of fairness to all associates who contribute to, and benefit from, the plan.” is rubbish. They could easily justify a $400000 donation to the victim as a public relations exercise. In fact, it’s hard to imagine they wouldn’t lose at least that much in sales from the bad PR.

  20. Gilmae:

    Medicare would not let you double dip for medical expenses. In fact it would be regarded as fraud here and you would quite likely end up in court.

    So I assume you are quite okay with Medicare not allowing double dipping but it’s perfectly fine if someone does it to Walmart.

    Let me explain how a medical claim works in the US. You fill in a form and tick the box if the medical complaint arose as a result of an accident. If your are reimbursed the med expenses the insurance firm rightly expects the money.

    You think double dipping medical claims ought to be allowed for large firms only?

    As I said, it’s another beat up on Walmart for being too successful.

  21. Actually, Jc, I had assumed previously that there had been something like a two-part settlement, one for medical expenses and one for punitive damages and that Walmart were getting into the punitive part as well.

    I’m not even sure if I just described a scenario that can even exist in reality or if it is just something ginned up from too many episodes of Law & Order, but you made me actually look at a news page and yeah, Walmart’s insurance company are legally in the right. So you probably didn’t change my mind exactly, but the video ref is giving benefit of the doubt.

  22. NPOV

    How exactly do you know they haven’t contributed to the accident victim through other means?

    Walmarts has around 800,000 employees which means that they are likely to self ensure for the most part. If it allows double dipping (unlike anyone else) insurance premiums would rise for all employees. The firm is right to be strict with this claim as it benefits all its employees. No other insurnace firm would allow double dipping… even our beloved state run system.

    If you think it is okay to double dip I suggest you ought to take multiple cover on your house and car etc. and see how you go with that. Let us know if you end up with fraud charges and why you think that is unfair.

    Again… this is another beat up on Walmarts by the usual suspects. Nothing new here.

  23. If Wal-mart had decided to donate money to the accident victim, then I’d think they make an effort to have this fact known – but honestly, how dumb can a system be that they are somehow legally bound to attempt to “recover costs” even when they intend to give the money right back again.

    From the point of view of the accident victim, I honestly don’t see how you can call it “double dipping”. Dipping into what exactly? And what on earth is she getting out of it? The point is that as a society we are more than rich enough to ensure that people who suffer unspeakable tragedies such as this can have their suffering kept to a minimum at no noticeable loss to the rest of us. What possible moral argument is there for not doing so?

    What saddens me most is that Wal-mart have obviously decided that they won’t lose more than $470,000 in sales by acting in this sort of manner. I.e., they’re all too aware that most people have simply stopped caring.

  24. If Wal-mart had decided to donate money to the accident victim, then Id think they make an effort to have this fact known – but honestly, how dumb can a system be that they are somehow legally bound to attempt to recover costs even when they intend to give the money right back again.

    You dont know that for sure as their story rarely ever gets out. As I explained the entity most likely making the claim is the medical insurance entity that acts and administers for WalMart. Most medium to large US firms self-insure.

    From the point of view of the accident victim, I honestly dont see how you can call it double dipping. Dipping into what exactly? And what on earth is she getting out of it?

    WalMart paid her medical expenses. Part of the legal claim against the trucking firm was for medical expenses. Thats double dipping.

    The point is that as a society we are more than rich enough to ensure that people who suffer unspeakable tragedies such as this can have their suffering kept to a minimum at no noticeable loss to the rest of us. What possible moral argument is there for not doing so?

    Theres a good argument. Wal-Mart has to be careful how it manages its medical insurance arm or premiums will go up which means that the wages component of total fact or income will fall.

    What saddens me most is that Wal-mart have obviously decided that they wont lose more than $470,000 in sales by acting in this sort of manner. I.e., theyre all too aware that most people have simply stopped caring.

    Ok, fair enough. Then why don’t you get going by starting a fund on her behalf or call her and ask where you can make a donation?

  25. I’ll also say, those who should be the most annoyed with Wal-mart are those with libertarian leanings. Because as long as companies continue to act in such a way, socialism and anti-capitalism will continue to thrive. Fortunately, most of the anger seems to be directed specifically at Wal-mart, and not at large retailers in general, but it probably only takes another corporation or two to make similar headlines for public skepticism of capitalism to be re-fuelled.

  26. Yes, insurance premiums will go up – by maybe a few cents per employee. I’d prefer it was spread across the entire nation via single-payer insurance, but the negative effect on those who don’t suffer horrible accidents is neglible compared to the benefit to those tiny fraction who do.

    My second point is simply that libertarianism (and a general positive attitude towards capitalism) will never gain mainstream acceptance until capitalists start acting more like regular human beings. However, it seems many (if not most) libertarians seem to feel like it’s there job to defend the actions of any corporation, no matter how damaging or heartless they might be.

  27. However, it seems many (if not most) libertarians seem to feel like its there job to defend the actions of any corporation, no matter how damaging or heartless they might be.

    Heartless? So a person ought to be able to claim medical insurance twice if his/her ailment meets your personal horror (preference) test?

    I certainly wouldn’t be defending Walmart if it behaved illegally or were sitting behind a regulatory protectionist wall. But it isn’t. Walmart prospers in a contestable market and we should be applaud them. The benefits of providing cheaper consumer goods to americans has been a truly amazing story. They are a great firm.

    Yes, insurance premiums will go up – by maybe a few cents per employee. Id prefer it was spread across the entire nation via single-payer insurance, but the negative effect on those who dont suffer horrible accidents is neglible compared to the benefit to those tiny fraction who do.

    Well you may think the solution is a state run insurance program, but i would get that past americans first if I were you. I saw a poll which showed 89% of Americans are happy with their medical insurance. And why wouldn’t they be as it is the best medical system in the world.

    I repeat this is another example of a Walmrt beat up by the usual suspects.

  28. Had Joe actually read the article to which Amanda supplied a link, he would have found that the woman’s attorney explained the situation as follows:

    “The recovery that Debbie Shank made was recovery for future lost earnings, for her pain and suffering,” Graham said.

    “She’ll never be able to work again. Never have a relationship with her husband or children again. The damage she recovered was for much more than just medical expenses.”

    Graham said he believes Wal-Mart should be entitled to only about $100,000. Right now, about $277,000 remains in the trust — far short of the $470,000 Wal-Mart wants back.

    In other words, it appears that only $100,000 of the money Walmart is trying to extract from Mrs Shank could even vaguely be described as “double dipping”, in that it was the amount of money recovered as damages for medical expenses incurred. The rest was for other heads of general damages not in any sense referable to money Walmart had provided. It appears that Mrs Shank didn’t succeed in recovering the whole of the cost of medical expenses as special damages (which sometimes occurs). Walmart is seeking to recover not “double dipped” funds but solely under a clause of the employee medical benefits agreement Mrs Shank signed whereby she agreed that Walmart could recover money they paid her from ANY damages whatsoever she later recovered in respect of a claim, even if it was not money paid by way of reimbursement of the medical expenses Walmart had paid. Thus they’re trying to grab her damages for future earnings, pain and suffering and everything else. That seems to me to adequately merit the label “arseholes” if not something even more condemnatory. This sort of clause in a medical benefits insurance policy might well be statutorily barred in Australia, and I suspect would certainly be at serious risk of being struck down as an unconscionable bargain.

  29. The awarded injuries were around $700,000, Ken. Part of that award should have been for medical expenses or if it wasn’t the woman ought to sue her attorney for negligence in not reading her medical insurance contract and bringing it up before the court as an additional part of the legitimate claim.

    See here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119551952474798582.html?mod=WSJBlog

    I went to the WSJ article that first ran the story some time ago.

    Let me ask you: You think it’s fine for the lawyers to get their costs out of the award but not Walmart that had to shell out the medical expenses to begin with it?

  30. here’s some more money:

    The firm (the trucking frim) had only $1 million in liability coverage, though. For his own losses, Mr. Shank received $200,000, of which $119,000 remained after legal expenses. He says he spent most of it toward a one-story house fitted with ramps and wider doors, which is more accessible than the family’s previous three-level home.

    So the legal firm took 40% of his proceeds.

    So the $700,0000 she received was a separate claim for the poor woman. The husband also received an award obviously for being her carer.

    Not saying this is a lot of money under these circumstances, but it’s hardly the amount of money some blogs are suggesting.

  31. “…a person ought to be able to claim medical insurance twice if his/her ailment meets your personal horror (preference) test?”

    A person ought to be able to get the care they need after such an incident. The amount of money they have claimed for can’t possibly be sufficient. That may not be Walmart’s fault, but that is not the point.

    And yes, whoever made the decision to sue the family for $4700000 is heartless. It’s pretty damn obvious to anyone with a modicum of common sense that they have every need in the world for $470000, whereas Walmart has 0 need for it.

    I wonder, were the other employees of Walmart, for whose sake the cost recovery was allegedly done, even consulted? I would like to see the result of a poll that asked every employee of Walmart whether to choose between a few cents extra out of their paycheque and the Shank family being asked to cough up $470000.

    As for 89% of Americans being happy with their healthcare, even if such a stat had anything to it (and I do wonder how it can be, when precisely 100% of everyone in the office I was working in over there for the last 4 weeks had nothing but gripes about dealing with health insurance) it doesn’t change the fact that a) America’s health system is absurdly expensive and b) those who have the most problems with it (and the least access to it) are those that need it the most, rarely through any fault of their own.

  32. NPOV

    No, no, you’re right, RA.

    Thanks. I’m rarely ever wrong and thanks for recognizing that.

    Admittedly, the claim Walmarts is making is not a good look by any stretch of the imagination. Normally I am generally sympathetic to these guys as they have been under siege for years with all the spurious claims about how evil they are.. They could have been a little better at handling this thing. They are well run firm that has offered the American public great savings.

    You noticed cut the lawyers took from the deal? 40%! We never knew that until I figured it out from the WSJ piece. The bloggers were too busy trying to hack some walmart flesh to notice. Why a 40% isn’t egregious while Walmarts is needs to be explained to me as I don’t get it.

    when precisely 100% of everyone in the office I was working in over there for the last 4 weeks had nothing but gripes about dealing with health insurance)

    Who knows? 4 weeks is hardly a reasonable time to figure out the US healthcare system. I lived 16 years and found it truly excellent…. but there is a lot of paper shuffling.

  33. Wal-Mart has dropped the lawsuit against the brain-damaged former employee. And:

    The case put a spotlight on the growing use of reimbursement claims by health plans, experts say. Roger Baron, professor of law at the University of South Dakota and a specialist in health-plan law, said health plans have become “very aggressive” about subrogation since the 2006 Supreme Court decision.

    “It’s free money. They want the free money,” Mr. Baron said.

    Lynn Dudley, vice president for policy at the American Benefits Council in Washington, D.C., said the negative publicity around the case was beginning to draw the attention of lawmakers who might want legislation to stop or limit subrogation.

  34. If TimL’s quoted paragraph has anything to do with Walmart, then it wasn’t Walmart but the health company as JC originally postulated, and under most subrogation clauses Walmart would have been quite powerless to do anything.

    Indeed if I understand the reports correctly, this case has actually caused Walmart to force its insurance companies to revise the contracts:

    Wal-Mart’s Curran said the retailer was required by the rules of its plan to seek reimbursement from the Shank’s settlement. But she said the case has made Wal-Mart revise those rules to allow for flexibility in individual cases.

    One might file this under ‘an ideal world might be different’ but it does look to me like one could much more easily file it under ‘this is another beat up on Walmarts by the usual suspects‘ than ‘US supermarket giant Walmart are a bunch of complete arseholes‘.

  35. Tim,

    Thanks for the link. Aside from the Walmart case……….

    Its free money. They want the free money, Mr. Baron said.

    Do you insure your house multiple times? Do you expect to be paid multiple times.

    Perhaps you could email Professor Baron and ask him.

  36. The only difference it makes that we’re talking about insurance and subrogation is that the bastardry/arsehole behaviour in this particular case is that of the insurer rather than Walmart itself. Moreover, although I’m anything but an expert in insurance law, it seems likely that if this set of events had occurred in Australia the the insurer would not have subrogated to any right that Walmart might have possessed against its employee Mrs Shank. See Insurance Contracts Act 1984 (Cth) section 66.

  37. I should also deal briefly with Joe’s red herring of the lawyer’s remuneration in Mrs Shank’s case. I certainly don’t defend huge lump sum contingency fees such as ones where the lawyer gets 40% of the verdict or settlement (as was apparently the case with Mrs Shank). That sort of agreement is unlawful in all parts of Australia AFAIK. Whereas Australian lawyers can enter into a form of contingent “no win no fee” arrangement, they are generally limited to charging roughly a 10% premium/uplift fee in the event of success. The idea is to keep the incentive to extreme ambulance-chasing in check, and also to avoid cases like that of Mrs Shank where the lawyer gets a large proportion of the benefit of any verdict or settlement.

    My own view is that that is a reasonably equitable balancing provision which allows impecunious litigants with strong cases to get legal representation but doesn’t unduly reward the lawyer or unduly penalise the impecunious litigant in the event of success.

    In a similar sense, I think it is desirable to limit statutorily the ability of insurers to subrogate (i.e. as in the Shank case). It’s fair enough that the insurer can recover the amount of any medical expenses they have actually paid out from any damages recovered AND REFERABLE TO THOSE MEDICAL EXPENSES, but not that the insurer have an open-ended right of recovery from any damages a person receives under whatever head. To what extent this accords with current Australian law, however, I’m not sure. As I say, it’s not really my area.

  38. Excellent responses, Ken.

    My comment about the lawyers wasn’t meant to be a red herring as I was kind of shocked everyone was beating up on the firm while legals were getting a clear pass for charging some pretty high fees for what seemed to have been a pretty easy case to deal with.

    There’s some serious pressure on the cost side of the US healthcare system at the moment and everyone seems to be fumbling around trying to figure how to kill some of these costs (no not the patients).

    This is simply staggering:

    Premiums for family coverage have surged by 78 percent since 2001, while wages have gone up 19 percent

    http://rawstory.com/news/afp/US_health_insurance_costs_rise_near_09122007.html

  39. I agree that that would appear to make subrogation impossible in this case in Australia, albeit query whether there must be a connection between the employment and the action. Also that appears to not be framed with personal insurance in mind.

    That is a very strict Act by international standards, as far as I am aware, though. Part of the matrix of reasons why there isn’t an Australian reinsurance industry to speak of.

  40. That is a very strict Act by international standards, as far as I am aware, though. Part of the matrix of reasons why there isnt an Australian reinsurance industry to speak of.

    I don’t follow your argument, Patrick. How would limited right of subrogation affect the the reinsurance industry?

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