A Grotesque Le­gal Racket

New York Post - - POST OPINION -

Ku­dos to The New York Times for un­cov­er­ing yet an­other grotesque abuse by the le­gal-lend­ing in­dus­try — one that uses tele­mar­keters to en­tice women into un­nec­es­sary and risky surgery.

Class-ac­tion law­suits sur­round­ing mesh im­plants are the new gold mine for the tort bar. Mil­lions of women have got­ten the im­plants to cor­rect a con­di­tion called pelvic or­gan pro­lapse; some suf­fer side ef­fects — and the le­gal sharks cir­cle for a fat pay­day.

But the suits don’t bring big pay­outs un­less the woman has had the im­plant re­moved. So lawyers en­cour­age that surgery, though, it, too, can have side ef­fects and hon­est doc­tors only rec­om­mend it in ex­treme cases.

The mar­ket­ing out­fits that talk women into the op­er­a­tions ar­range the surgery, in­clud­ing travel, and hook them up with lawyers as well as with firms that make high-in­ter­est loans the women won’t have to re­pay un­less their law­suits pros­per.

As the Times re­ports, the doc­tors who work in the med­i­cal mills do­ing the pro­ce­dures can earn $14,000 a day, yet typ­i­cally meet the pa­tients only on the day of surgery. Nor are they around to help with com­pli­ca­tions (such as in­con­ti­nence).

Mean­while, the le­gal fees and high-in­ter­est loans can eat up most of what­ever set­tle­ment the woman may win.

The Post has done its own ex­posés on LawCash and other le­gal-lend­ing out­fits that cost tax­pay­ers mil­lions a year by en­cour­ag­ing ques­tion­able law­suits against the city by hand­ing out quick cash ad­vances to po­ten­tial plain­tiffs.

State Sen. Rob Ortt (R-Ni­a­gra Falls) and As­sem­bly­man Wil­liam Magnarelli (D-Syra­cuse) have a bill to li­cense and reg­u­late the le­gal-lend­ing in­dus­try to rein in these abuses. It can’t pass fast enough.

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