Fighting Back- Countermeasures by Suit and Other Means
Leveling the playing field against frivolous suits and unprofessional actions
When you are confronted by a frivolous case, or outrageous statements by expert witnesses you want to restore balance, reason and fairness to the system somehow. What measures are available to you?
One dramatic countersuit story is of a confrontation with the plaintiff's attorney at deposition that quickly turned things around. This is an unusual situation, but most countersuits are special circumstanses that need both merit and provability, or it can backfire. In a frivolous lawsuit claim, you are accusing the other side of abusing the legal process. This may be aimed at the attorney, or his firm. It can also be against the medical expert on the other side. You can ask for compensatory damages for lost time, legal costs, and compensation for the anguish of the experience. You can also ask for punitive damages, which fits the spirit of an action against a frivolous lawsuit. Usually a countersuit can only occur once the malpractice suit has ended in teh Doctor's favor. What is your aim? Do you want to terminate the suit? Or, do you want to exact a retribution, e.g. send a message. There is also an effort to have the suits heard prior to the doctor winning his case, to make them more common. This is a campaign that varies with the state and the case.
Countersuits also help just by making the case more complex and unpalitable. The more you muddy the waters, the less the plaintiff's attorney will want to pursue it.
You can get countersuit policies in some states, and a firm Medical Justice is developing them. They are also working to deal with preexisting frivolous lawsuits.
Other countermeasures are against the expert witness. Even some figures with high positions can make some outrageous statements in malpractice trials. Some professional assocications will take action. This will likely require providing records and other documents. The action is only with respect to their membership, and may be an admonishment or fine, or a loss of membership. You may find the expert witness no longer belongs to these organizations, which removes this theat.
Another option is reporting the witness to the state liscening board. This requires looking into the liscening board's willingness to pursue the issue, but can be effetive by itself. It cvertainly can add worry, take time, and could be expensive to defend, even if the board does not take punitive action.
The most effective countermeasures will likely be some combination, and always use them on top of the best protections other areas of this site are discussing with you.