William Savino speaks at BRMA ConferenceApril 13, 2010 | |
William M. Savino was a featured presenter at the Broker & Reinsurance Markets Association (BRMA) Committee Rendezvous 2010, a two day conference held in Princeton, New Jersey. Mr Savino spoke on the topic: “No Injury Class Actions and Emerging Medical Monitoring Claims.”
Savino’s remarks centered on a number of intriguing questions, “Is it advances in medical and other scientific technologies; the natural evolution of a sophisticated and compassionate legal system? Is it simply modern society; a response to a fear that we now live in a toxic environment? Is it junk science at work and yet another tortured expansion of tort law? And, of course, does insurance apply to cover medical monitoring claims?”
With attention growing with regard to “No Injury” class actions, Savino’s presentation examined the emerging issues associated with medical monitoring: Plaintiff classes alleging harmful exposures without present physical injury, seeking money to monitor their medical condition. Plaintiffs predicating suits under the emerging tort theory of medical monitoring and seeking a recovery not for the injuries they have, in fact, sustained. Instead, they seek to recover the costs associated with determining if they have sustained harm. The relief sought is, in a phrase, “Medical Monitoring.”
In sum, Savino inquired, “Are we seeing a fundamental shift, some would say distortion, of the law veering from compensation for actual injuries to compensation for exposure? And if so, what are the insurance coverage implications? Is exposure to a known harmful substance sufficient, by itself, to constitute bodily injury? Do medical monitoring claims ? lump-sum payments or a court supervised fund ? constitute damages? Will courts trigger a duty to defend for pre-diagnosis, pre-injury medical monitoring suits?