CALA Achievements  
Jan 4 08 downloaded
·       A major force at the
grassroots level behind the
passage of Prop 64, “Stop
Shakedown Lawsuits” Initiative,  
which passed 59% - 41%.

·       Major proponent of the
Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act.

·       Major proponent of the
Class Action Fairness Act.

·       Successfully defeated
attacks on MICRA medical
liability caps.

·       Sponsored the Legal
Consumers Protection Act.

·       Successfully defeated
attacks on confidential

·      Launched the “Lawsuits are
Making Us Sick” and “Take Out
the Trash” campaigns to draw
attention to how lawsuit abuse
increases medical costs, and
how “junk science” in the
courtroom thwarts justice.

·      Information from CALA
supporters led to the first known
criminal and/or disciplinary
investigations into the mass
filings of ADA/access lawsuits.

·       Generated hundreds of
opposition letters from CALA
supporters to SB 832 that would
have sent 75% of all punitive
damage awards to the State of
California, and AB 1489 which
would have expanded attorney
fees related to the AG’s office.  
The Governor vetoed both

·       Helped garner national
media attention on California’s
lawsuit crisis on CNBC’s Business
Nation, Penn & Teller, PBS,
Fortune Small Business
Magazine, Worth Magazine,
Kiplingers, as well as countless
local news features and editorial.

·       Polls consistently show
CALA’s credibility ranking in the
top two or three organizations,
along with MADD.    

·       Recognized by President
both George Bush and Governor
Arnold Schwarzenegger; praised
by countless legislators and
Member, Republican Party
County Central Committee;
County of San Diego; Assembly District
76 (6 Elected)

Tricia Hunter, Republican  11312 votes

Lorie Zapf, Republican 8865 votes

Sean Hoffman, Republican .......... 7743
votes 8.79%

David A. King, Republican .......... 7516
votes 8.53%

Marc P. Schaefer, Republican ..........
7035 votes 7.99%

John "Woody" Woodrum, Republican
.......... 6872 votes 7.80%
Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA)
are as likely as anyone else to file a lawsuit, so maybe the moniker really means...

Common people Aren't Likely to have any Assets
so why should CALA lawyers like Leslie Devaney represent them?


Posted date: 8/13/2007

San Diego City Taxpayers on
the Hook for $27M in ’05, ’06 for
Cost of Lawsuits

County Bar Asks Members to
Support Pledge for Diversity

San Diego Business Journal

San Diego taxpayers spent $27
million on legal settlements,
awards and outside counsel in
2005 and 2006, according to a
report issued by California
Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse.

CALA, a nonprofit watchdog
over the courts, found that
litigation against the city cost
taxpayers $11 million in
verdicts and settlements in
2005 and another $3.7 million in
outside counsel fees. In 2006,
verdicts and settlements
reached nearly $5 million and
outside counsel cost another
$2.7 million.

In 2005, litigation against the
county cost $3.8 million for
verdicts and settlements and
for outside counsel. In 2006,
verdicts and settlements cost
taxpayers $1.1 million and
outside counsel $400,000.

Lorie Zapf, president of CALA’s
San Diego chapter, said local
government is often the
subject of frivolous or abusive

“As a result, it is the taxpayers
who pay and the community
who suffers,” said Zapf.

other critical services.
other critical services.

“San Diegans don’t pay taxes
with the understanding that
these monies will be used to
defend against unwarranted or
unscrupulous lawsuits,” she
said. “Our legal system should
not be a tool for those who
would seek to abuse it for
undeserved gain.”

CALA made inquiries to Los
Angeles, Orange and
Sacramento counties and the
cities of Anaheim, Los Angeles
and Sacramento. Each was
asked for the amount the city
or county spent on verdicts,
settlements and outside
counsel for 2005 and 2006.
CALA also examined city and
county budget documents.

In 2006, CALA reported $97.7
million in litigation, awards and
outside counsel costs from
these four cities, including San
Diego, and another $79.2
million in 2005. In the four
cities, CALA found litigation,
awards and outside counsel
costs topped $49 million in 2005
and $47 million in 2006.

Zapf added that the totals do
not reflect all costs associated
with city and county legal
cases. The counsel costs
reported do not include the
time and money that staff
attorneys on the public payroll
of the cities and counties spend
fighting lawsuits.

“The San Diego numbers sound
too low to me,” admitted Zapf.

She said there are no doubt
legitimate claims against cities
and counties, but attempts to
request additional information
about the settlements and
awards were not answered by
the city. Zapf said she
requested information from the
city several weeks ago but has
not heard back from the risk
management department.

• • •
Republican Party of
San Diego County

Latest News from

S.D. County Citizens
Against Lawsuit Abuse
Tel: (619) 295-6059
Fax: (619) 295-6710
1761 Hotel Circle South, Suite
San Diego, CA 92108
March 19, 2007

Central Committee Member
Lorie Zapf to Lead CALA

San Diego County Citizens
Against Lawsuit Abuse
Names Lorie Zapf as President

San Diego, CA (March 19,
2007) - San Diego County
Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse
(CALA) has named Lorie Zapf
as its new president.

Zapf is a former small business
owner and has been an active
community volunteer for
several San Diego non-profit
organizations. Her background
includes positions in the news
as a radio and television news
reporter, public relations
manager, and a video producer.
“I’ve been a CALA supporter
since 1999 when the small
business my husband and I
owned was hit with a
“shakedown” lawsuit,” said Zapf.
“I am acutely aware of the toll a
takes on a business in terms of
lost productivity, legal
expenses, and the strain on
your family
and health. We were managing
our lawsuit, not growing our

San Diego is a city of thriving
small and entrepreneurial
businesses, but just one lawsuit
can bankrupt a small business
and put all their employees out
of work, Zapf warned.
“Lorie’s passion for fighting
lawsuit abuse will help CALA
advocate for the countless small
businesses and consumers
devastated by the effects of a
civil justice system out of
whether through jobs lost as
businesses close, medical help
unavailable because of litigation
risk, or the escalating costs we
all pay because of those who
would game the system,” said
CALA Board Vice-Chairman
George Coles. “We look forward
to Lorie’s continued fight against
lawsuit abuse and to ensure our
legal system is used for justice,
not greed.”

“It is important that San Diego
area citizens understand the
role they have to play in
the quality of our judicial
system,” said Zapf. “Serving on
a jury is one of the most
tools we have to fight against
lawsuit abuse that costs us all.”

CALA is a nonprofit, grass
roots, public education
organization dedicated to
serving as a
watchdog over the legal system
and those who would seek to
abuse it for undeserved
gain. More than 9,500 citizens
and taxpayers are San Diego
CALA supporters.

# # #
Lori Zapf, President
of San Diego CALA
San Diego's Taxpayer
CALA serves as a
watchdog over our
legal system and
those who would seek
to abuse it.

The San Diego chapter is one of
six independent CALA’s through
the state and is supported by
9,500 San Diego County
residents, taxpayers, and small
business owners.

Lorie is a former small business
owner and has been an active
community volunteer for several
San Diego non-profit
organizations. She has an
extensive background in the
news media industry.
Republican Party of San
Diego County

November 26, 2007


so many other so many
other regulatory laws of
its type, a tool of
extortion for a long list of
special-interest groups
that have little – if any –
interest in the
environment. Because
CEQA focuses on land-use
issues, the sector most
often targeted with
lawsuit abuse disguised as
CEQA enforcement is the
building industry. And the
people who have set
builders in their cross-
hairs more than anyone
else are none other than
the labor union leaders
who cynically threaten to
rake over the
environmental regulatory
coals any project that
does not track with their
own narrow political

Because CEQA is so broad-
ranging while offering
little specificity on just
how its review process
should be conducted,
complainants – in this
case, special-interest trial
attorneys – can, and
often do, exploit this legal
loophole to contest the
entire process no matter
what its findings, while
leveraging an insidious
tactic called “greenmail”
to force builders to either
acquiesce to their
demands or face the
exorbitant costs of not
only unnecessary delay,
but frivolous litigation.

And what are those

A perfect case in point can be
found right here in San Diego
County, where local labor
unions used greenmail to
secure a union-only project
labor agreement on the
construction of Petco Park.
More recently, the city of
Chula Vista has become
embroiled in a bitter battle
between union leaders and
Gaylord Entertainment, whose
billion-dollar hotel and
convention center proposal
for the Chula Vista bayfront
has been under greenmail
threat ever since Gaylord
refused to sign a similar union-
only project labor agreement.
A union-backed group calling
itself the Environmental
Health Coalition is pushing
Gaylord to use union-only
labor as a matter of
environmental conservation.
That a project's union status
has absolutely nothing to do
with environmentalism is an
inconvenient truth that even
Al Gore would have to accept,
which is exactly why the
National Labor Relations
Board recently voided a union
project labor agreement
deemed to have been signed
under similar duress in New
York. But the real mystery is
why any rational
environmentalist would
tolerate other special-interest
groups hijacking his or her
cause for an immaterial
political agenda.

In the meantime,

however, greenmail
remains a special interest
ace-in-the-hole that has
proven highly effective in
achieving the most
irrelevant objectives
through frivolous CEQA

Take Wal-Mart, for
example, a favorite
target of litigious, anti-
growth special-interest
groups. In California
alone, a small team of
attorneys has been
wreaking litigation – and
thus economic havoc – by
suing more than 30 cities
that have approved Wal-
Mart Supercenters. All of
these suits have been
filed on environmental
grounds – many of them
CEQA-related. According
to The Associated Press,
“[many of] these suits
have been filed on behalf
of obscure, often
secretive community
groups that have few
known members. Some of
them have been backed
by labor unions leading an
anti-Wal-Mart fight in
California. . . .”

As with the abuse of
similarly well-intentioned
but fatally flawed
legislation, like the
Americans with
Disabilities Act, signed
into law by then-

President George H.W.
Bush in 1990, the
ramifications of frivolous
CEQA-based lawsuits can be
huge – not just for the
cities, which lose millions of
dollars in much-needed
revenue and infrastructure
expansion. Or the
environmental movement,
which loses credibility. Or
even the workers, who lose
vital jobs. The hardest hit
are the everyday taxpayers
– the people who end up
losing a stronger economy,
a cleaner environment, a
more efficient legal system,
and a better quality of life.
These are the Californians
who are tired of paying the
equivalent of a 5 percent
tax to cover frivolous
lawsuits launched by trial
attorneys whose combined
earnings dwarf those of
Microsoft; or sinking their
hard-earned tax dollars into
a legal system ranked the
fifth-worst in the United

Greenmail-type extortion
and CEQA abuse are a
threat both to the
preservation of our
environment and the rule
of law, compromising our
safety, security and
lifelong prosperity.
Californians must tighten
the environmental
regulatory process to end
this insidious form of
lawsuit abuse

Zapf is president of the
San Diego County Citizens
Against Lawsuit Abuse.
She can be reached via e-
mail at sdcala@sbcglobal.
GOP publishes stories by CALA:

County Party Committee
Member to be President of
Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse

Central Committee Member
Lorie Zapf to Lead CALA

By Citizens Against Lawsuit
March 19, 2007
Read More

Cathy Middlested – Project Manager
Testimony in favor by: Rhonda Fanucchi, Lorie Zapf, Lance Witmondt, Joseph
Holasek, Leticia Ruiz, R.J.White, Michael Sexton, Ken Kerr, Ted Brengel, Jeb
Bakke, Don Daley, Pastor Leo Giovinetti, Matthew Landers, Roxanne Confer,
Gloria Frennell, Sean Fennell, Linda Kerr, Bob Biron, Debbie Gosch, Charmian
Turner, Jacqueline R Scott, Wendy Scott, Carlos Guerrero, Monique Guerrero,
Martha Guerrero, Tony Martin, Fredrick Studer, Kathleen Studer, Vira Joan
Wade, Maria Lilia Langley, Billy Langley, Rachel Grebbien, Steve Van Camp,
Gail Van Camp, Julia Smith, Mario, Fimbres, Mandy Swonger, Shana Fimbres,
Kathryn Cordova, Wilfred Sturleon, Marlys Snook, Don Lindsay, Rick Hallahan,
Dennis Kris Martinez, Deborah Sund, Frank Leech, Gail Martin, Bob Hillard,
Betty Breedlove, Timothy Hathaway, Jimmy Won. Belinda Biron, Audrey Kay,
Henry Kay, G. Allen Schlanbusch, John Rodriguez, Michelle Mitchell, Jon Lotta,
Cheryl Ann Walker, Robert Cobb, Tony Abat, Linda Reynolds, Jim Hallahan,
Amy Meyer, Roberta Clay, Linda Preatice, Joe R. Ulibarri, Nancy Valencia,
Richard Drew, Diana Lee, Stephen R. Bailey, Deborah S. Bailey, Robyn Conners,
Sylvia Drew, Nancy Athay, Marlena Jones, Judy Ulibarri, Doris Hargis, Carol
Holesaic, Steph Amundson, Dennis Brullow.
Testimony in opposition by Patti Krebs, Dale Watkins, Melanie Colbert, Michael
D-4688. REPORT NO. HO 04-063.
Press Release from SD
County  Citizens Against
Lawsuit Abuse

For Immediate Release -
June 25, 2007
“Does Lawsuit Abuse
Adversely Impact Your
Family, Consumers
and/or Your
North County Times
March 30, 2007
Disabled-access attorney
slapped with sanction


The attorney who stirred
controversy when he
threatened to sue many Julian
business owners for allegedly
violating disability access laws
has been ordered by a federal
judge to pay more than $15,000
in fees and take legal ethics

The order against Theodore
Pinnock, who has filed ---- and
settled out of court ----
hundreds of access lawsuits
against local stores and
businesses, came on March 23,
after he sued on behalf of a
woman who allegedly found an
Ocean Beach store

But the store, Sea and Shore
Market, had been shuttered
since it flooded in December

The suit claims the woman
visited the shop in March 2006
and found the front door to the
store was too heavy, the
counters too high, the walkways
too narrow, and the bathroom

The suit centered on alleged
violations of the Americans with
Disabilities Act by Marcos
Mouet and his convenience

Pinnock filed the suit on behalf
of a group calling itself the
Association of Women with
Disabilities Advocating Access,
and a woman named Delores
Jackson, who uses a walker and
has difficulty seeing.

In the ruling, issued March 23,
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey T.
Miller found that Pinnock's suit
made allegations "without
reasoned and competent

Miller noted case law which
finds that imposition of
sanctions is reserved for the
"rare and exceptional case
where the action is clearly
frivolous, legally unreasonable
or without legal foundation."

Miller ordered Pinnock to take
four hours of legal ethics
training through the state bar,
and also told him to pay more
than $15,000 in attorney fees
for Mouet.

Mouet's attorney, Mitch Wallis,
did not return a call for
comment Friday.

Pinnock said in a telephone
interview Friday that he had
erred in this particular suit.

"We all make mistakes," he
said. "This mistake got blown
out of proportion."

Pinnock also sent an e-mail to
the North County Times, saying
he plans to continue filing
access suits.

"If people think that the Mouet
ruling will stop me, they are
mistaken," Pinnock wrote.
"Being born with severe
cerebral palsy did not stop me.
Being born poor and black did
not stop me. Being in an
institution for ten years did not
stop me.

"Most in my position would have
stopped striving early in life. But
challenges invigorate my soul."

Pinnock, who uses a
wheelchair, became a
controversial figure after what
he called the "Julian
Experiment" in 2005, in which
he slapped 67 business owners
with letters demanding that they
come into compliance with the
15-year-old Americans with
Disabilities Act and pay up to
him to the tune of about $2,500
per business ---- or find
themselves in federal court.

Advocates for the disabled
have heralded Pinnock's work,
noting that the news of the suits
was getting press ---- which
meant that more business
owners would tune in to the
needs of the disabled.

But Pinnock's negotiating
tactics angered business
owners and others, some of
whom called his access lawsuits

In an e-mail statement sent to
the North County Times, the
new director of the San Diego
chapter of Citizens Against
Lawsuit Abuse said her
organization applauded Miller's
decision to sanction Pinnock.

"Clearly, suing a business for
Americans with Disabilities Act
violations when the store wasn't
even open at the time is a
blatant example of lawsuit
abuse," director Lorie Zapf

Contact staff writer Teri Figueroa
at (760) 631-6624 or
I disagree with
CALA; I think
lawsuits make
everyone safer
The law protects you,
but only if you can
enforce it in court
CVESD Report
CVESD Reporter
San Diego
Education Report Blog
California Teachers Blog
Role Model Lawyers
Maura Larkin's
San Diego Education
Report Blog
Nuevo blog en español

Why This Website



Castle Park Elem

Law Enforcement



Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz

Silence is Golden

Schools and Violence

Office Admin Hearings

Larkins OAH Hearing
P.S., a Minor, et al   v.
When your kids are at school, they're on their own, apparently..  School insurance won't
compensate for families like these who are harmed.
Blog Discussion
Court decision
Victory for CALA: June 2009 CA 4th Appellate says school
not liable when substitute teacher molests student!
Leslie Devaney, board
member San Diego

Leslie Devaney radio schedule
from Stutz website
downloaded June 8, 2009

Gavel of Justice Show Features
Devaney, Sleeth and Dyer

July 06, 2005

Time Warner Cable and Cox Cable
are featuring Leslie Devaney, Jack
Sleeth and Christina Dyer on the
Gavel of Justice Show. This is your
opportunity to see attorneys in
action as they share their views on
several hot topics.

Watch for these air dates:

Evenings 7:00 - 7:30 p.m.

June 29, 2005
TOPIC: How to Protect Yourself
an ADA Lawsuit
GUEST: Leslie Devaney, Stutz
Shinoff & Holtz and CALA Board
HOST: Jim Edwards,Wireless
Facilities, Inc., and CALA Board

July 6, 2005
TOPIC: The Employment Time
GUEST: Jack M. Sleeth, Jr., Stutz
Artiano Shinoff & Holtz
Leslie Devaney, Stutz
Artiano Shinoff & Holtz and CALA
Board Member

July 13, 2005
TOPIC: Out of Control Issues in the
Education Field
GUEST: Christina Dyer, Stutz
Artiano Shinoff & Holtz
HOST: Leslie Devaney, Stutz
Artiano Shinoff & Holtz and CALA
Board Member

August 10, 2005 at 8:00 p.m.
TOPIC: How to Protect Yourself
from an ADA Lawsuit
GUEST: Leslie Devaney, Stutz
Artiano Shinoff & Holtz and CALA
Board Member
HOST: Jim Edwards, Wireless
Facilities, Inc. and CALA Board

COX CABLE (Channel 23 or 18)
Tuesday Evenings 8:00 - 8:30 p.m.

July 12, 2005
TOPIC: How to Protect Yourself
from an ADA Lawsuit
GUEST: Leslie Devaney, Stutz
Artiano Shinoff & Holtz and CALA
Board Member
HOST: Jim Edwards, Wireless
Facilities, Inc. and CALA Board

July 19, 2005
TOPIC: The Employment Time
GUEST: Jack M. Sleeth, Jr., Stutz
Artiano Shinoff & Holtz
HOST: Leslie Devaney, Stutz
Artiano Shinoff & Holtz and CALA
Board Member

July 26, 2005
TOPIC: Out of Control Issues in the
Education Field
GUEST: Christina Dyer, Stutz
Artiano Shinoff & Holtz
HOST: Leslie Devaney, Stutz
Artiano Shinoff & Holtz and CALA
Board Member

August 16, 2005
TOPIC: How to Protect Yourself
from an ADA Lawsuit
GUEST: Leslie Devaney, Stutz
Artiano Shinoff & Holtz and CALA
Board Member
HOST: Jim Edwards, Wireless
Facilities, Inc. and CALA Board
Virginia Justice Brent Benjamin
CALA San Diego
Board of
downloaded June 8, 2009

Leslie Devaney
Stutz Artiano Shinoff &

Carole M. Ross
Sheppard Mullin Richter
& Hampton

Jim Edwards
Wireless Facilities
[renamed Kratos
Defense and Security
Solutions in 2007]

Lloyd Rowland
Amylin Pharmaceuticals,

David Geerdes
Procopio Cory
Hargreaves & Savitch

Pamela Anderson
Vineyard Bank

Steve Hales
California Financial Loan

Steve Austin
Swenson Advisors      
(Advisory Board)

Stephen Friar
Hensel Phelps
Construction Co.

Keith E. Krzewski
Swenson Advisor

Dan Powell
CityPacific Corp.

George Coles
Coles Carpets

Don Reeves, AIA
Reeves and associates
From CALA website:

"San Diego Citizens Against Lawsuit
Abuse was founded in 1994 as a
non partisan, 501 (c) 6
non-profit educational
grassroots organization dedicated to
preventing improper use of the
legal system for personal
financial gain."

[Maura Larkins' note: Thank
goodness lawyers never use the
legal system improperly for
personal financial gain.  Only
injured parties do that.  But I
must say, your organization
looks quite partisan indeed.]
I'm a doctor. So sue me. No, really
Jim Edwards of CALA sued the
same person,
Robin Donlan,
that I (Maura Larkins) sued!

Prison for figure in stocks scheme
Donlan worked for Wireless Facilities
[Firm owned by CALA board member Jim Edwards]
By David Washburn
October 10, 2007

Vencent Donlan was sentenced yesterday to 46
months in federal prison and ordered to pay
$8.45 million in restitution for stealing more than
$6.2 million from San Diego-based Wireless
Facilities through a stock-options scheme while
he worked for the company.

In July, Donlan, 45, pleaded guilty in U.S. District
Court to one count of wire fraud and one count
of tax evasion.

He admitted using his position as stock-options
administrator at Wireless Facilities – recently
renamed Kratos Defense and Security Solutions
– to fraudulently issue 728,229 shares of the
company's stock in the name of his wife to a
brokerage account he controlled and then
selling them for a net gain of at least $6.25
million between November 2002 and November

Robin Donlan, who was not charged in the case,
was unaware of her husband's activities, Donlan
and federal investigators said.

Donlan also admitted evading $2.2 million in
federal income taxes for 2002 and 2003 by
failing to declare the profits from the fraudulent
stock sales.

Kratos uncovered his scheme this year as it was
investigating whether it had backdated stock
options without giving proper disclosures to
shareholders. Last month, the company said it
would take a charge of $55 million for improperly
backdating some options between 1998 and

Kratos and the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission sued Donlan in May. Meanwhile,
the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the
Internal Revenue Service launched

In recent weeks, Donlan has settled with the
company, the SEC and the IRS, agreeing to pay
back all proceeds from the fraudulent options
and pay penalties to the IRS. Those payments
are part of his restitution.

Yesterday, Donlan and his attorney, Howard
Frank, asked U.S. District Judge John Houston
for a 27-month sentence, arguing that Donlan's
life before and after his crime warranted a
shorter prison stay.

Frank cited Donlan's service as a Navy pilot and
his recent job as a physics teacher at the San
Diego High Educational Complex School of
Business as examples of his work in the

Frank pointed out that Donlan ended the
scheme years before he was caught. “It speaks
to the person he has been his entire life that he
terminated his wrongful actions on his own
volition,” the attorney said.

Donlan betrayed little emotion in telling Houston
that he made a “mistake of self-control” from
which he will never recover.

“I humbly apologize to my wife, who had nothing
to do with this,” he said as an ashen-faced
Robin Donlan looked on, rocking back and forth
in her seat in the gallery.

Also in the courtroom were attorneys for Kratos,
including Senior Vice President James R.
Edwards, who said the company “was gratified
to see that justice was done.”

U.S. Attorney Steve Stone argued for the longer
sentence, which is at the low end of the federal
sentencing guidelines for the crimes, saying
Donlan should not be given credit for stopping
his criminal enterprise after making millions.

“He stopped because he had made enough
money and began worrying about getting
caught,” said Stone, citing the lavish lifestyle
that the ill-gotten gains afforded the Donlans
and the fact that Vencent Donlan did not pay
taxes on the money.

Among other things, the Donlans used the
proceeds to pay cash for a $942,000 home in
Del Cerro and a $655,000 home in Julian,
according to the lawsuits. They also spent tens
of thousands furnishing their homes and on
remodeling projects, the lawsuits said.

Houston largely rejected Donlan's rationale for
leniency and said a longer sentence is
necessary to set an example.

“(The sentence) must not only deter you, but
send a message to the general public and
reflect just punishment,” the judge told him.

Houston ordered Donlan to surrender to federal
marshals or to the yet-to-be-determined prison
by Oct. 26.
San Diego Education Report
San Diego
Education Report
Here's what can happen when malpractice awards are limited:
Swedish Man Dies After Doctor Leaves For Lunch In
Middle of Surgery
September 6, 2012     

A 72-year-old man died after his anesthesiologist left for lunch in the middle of his
surgery to have a tumor removed at the Lidköping hospital in Sweden. Not only did the
doctor leave for lunch but soon after the head anesthesia nurse took lunch — leaving a
nurse from the orthopedic ward who did not know how to operate the respirator. It turns
out that the machine was turned off.

The operation began in January 2011 at 10:45 am, but as soon as the clock hit noon
the doctor declared he was punching out for lunch.

The patient’s condition went chronic with hemorrhaging and his blood pressure started
to drop after the departure of the doctor — roughly an hour into his lunch break. Efforts
to reach the doctor at lunch were unsuccessful. By the time, the doctor returned the
patient had been without oxygen for eight minutes. They never revived the man who
had suffered irreparable brain damage. He did not die however for several weeks.

The National Board of Health and Welfare criticized the doctor’s actions. These cases
often revive the debate over whether some countries like
Sweden would benefit for
a more robust tort system for personal injuries and malpractice as in the
United States. It is of course a trade off.

Litigation does add costs to medical care but not as much as malpractice.

Our system is based not only on a belief in the right for patients to recover
fully for such loss, but also that such litigation constitutes a critical deterrent
for malpractice.