17 year old Carlos Sousa died tragically yesterday at the San Francisco Zoo. Let the zoo experts figure out how and why this happened and make certain steps are taken to insure this never happens again, in San Francisco or anywhere. In the meantime, let’s turn our attention to the legal aspects of this case. The zoo had prior notice of a problem and took no corrective action. An innocent life was taken. What are the legal remedies? President Bush and the so-called tort reformers believe there should be caps, or upper limits, on what juries are allowed to award. Why? To reward their donors, big corporations, doctors and hospitals. In California, there are caps in place now that apply only to medical malpractice cases. There is absolutely no justification to reward those who cause harm by reducing the verdict that a jury awards. The San Francisco Zoo must be held responsible for the harm they caused – and Carlos’ family is entitled to whatever verdict a jury places on the value of his life and the grief and emotional harm it has caused to his family. It would just compound this tragedy if groups such as the American Tort Reform Association had their way and personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits were subject to caps. The American Association for Justice has set forth compelling reasons why caps just aren’t fair.
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