You know I voted for Mr. Ketchum on the basis of what I though his ideology was. But after reading his dissenting opinion comments I wondered, speaking of opinions, if I had made the right decision about him.
Do you, or have you ever heard the old saying, "What's right is right, and what's wrong is wrong?" Well, if you have heard of it or not, it makes no difference. It's still true, and I am glad my way of thinking uses this saying as a nucleus and thats why I must right this letter!
Mr. Ketchum's statements are my biggest hold up against tort reform. Don't misunderstand me: I do not condone bogus lawsuits and the fees lawyers charge clients, but minimizing fair jury awards and the punitive damages including medical monitoring I have a problem with.
This sounds to me, and forgive me if I am wrong, that the good judge is taking the Chamber of Commerce's side and putting the economy of the state on a higher level than the scale of justice that he swore to uphold. I can not help from wondering when he told me during his campaign that he would treat workers' compensation claimants in a expeditious and fair manner if he would consider how his administering fair law may effect the states economy!
I truly care about jobs and our entire economy, but I personally try to be fair to both companies and injured workers. I think the company that hurt these people had their day in court and a jury heard all the facts and rendered the correct decision and that the ruling for the monitoring was just to catch any medical problems that these employees will reasonably have in the future and hopefully treat before its to late.
I pray that whatever position the Lord may put me in the future (if any) that I never diminish justice for the economy. To me it's like in the movie "Jaws," the townsmen didn't want anyone to know there was a shark in the water because it would hurt the town's business.
In closing, I hope the good judge will remember his job is to administer the law as written and leave the economy to the Legislature and governor, and I also pray our great state never makes it alright to poison our environment, hurt an employee, or kill an employee carelessly for the sake of getting jobs or not being first or last on some Chamber of Commerce list!
Melvin R. Kessler
Kessler is a former member of the House of Delegates.