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Health Care, Society, and Law: Moving the Boundaries of Litigation

Wednesday January 2010


Philip K. Howard Founder, Common Good, Vice Chairman, Covington & Burling

Introduction: James Copland, Director, Center for Legal Policy, Manhattan Institute

Attorney Philip K. Howard is one of the foremost critics of lawsuit abuse in America. The organization he founded in 2002, Common Good, is devoted to legal reform, building on the ideas he has articulated in three best-selling books: The Death of Common Sense: How Law is Suffocating America (1995); The Collapse of the Common Good: How America's Lawsuit Culture Undermines Our Freedom (2002); and Life without Lawyers: Liberating Americans from Too Much Law (2009).

In the recent debates over health-care reform, Mr. Howard has lamented Congress's failure to tackle liability. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, he noted that the leaders in Washington have not seriously considered litigation reform because "trial lawyers, among the largest contributors to the Democratic Party, thrive on the unreliable justice system we have now." Preserving the system, he observed, "is like pouring acid over the culture of health care."