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franklin county times

Hospital association executive blasts state as lawsuit Mecca

By By William F. West / community editor
Aug. 6, 2002
The chief executive of the Mississippi Hospital Association blamed trial lawyers on Monday for making the state "the lawsuit Mecca of the world."
Sam Cameron told the Meridian Rotary Club that trial lawyers and the Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association have slowly and quietly taken over state government since the mid- to late 1980s.
Cameron's comments came at a time when he and other critics have called for state leaders to reverse a growing trend toward large jury awards in civil lawsuits.
They say those awards are causing doctors to change their practice, flee Mississippi or retire because they are finding it increasingly difficult to buy malpractice insurance.
Lawyer disagrees with Cameron
David Baria, president of the Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association, said later Monday that Cameron's comments were irresponsible and unfortunate. Baria, 39, practices law in Jackson.
Baria said he does not know the basis for Cameron's remarks because he did not hear what the longtime Mississippi Hospital Association leader told Meridian Rotarians.
Cameron urges fast action
Cameron, though, called for Meridian Rotarians to educate their associates and friends and to also make their views known to state officials.
He also said that Meridian and Lauderdale County residents will suffer as a result of 15 physicians "who have either retired early, left or reduced their scope of practice.