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    Letters to the Editor

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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    Vol. 77, No. 9, September 2004


    Letters to the editor: The Wisconsin Lawyer publishes as many letters in each issue as space permits. Please limit letters to 500 words; letters may be edited for length and clarity. Letters should address the issues, and not be a personal attack on others. Letters endorsing political candidates cannot be accepted. Please mail letters to "Letters to the Editor," Wisconsin Lawyer, P.O. Box 7158, Madison, WI 53707-7158, fax them to (608) 257-4343, or

    Long-term Care Facilities Articles Do Not Reflect Other Views, Experiences

    As an attorney in private practice representing Wisconsin nursing homes and assisted living facilities, I am disappointed with the August Wisconsin Lawyer special focus articles, "Abuse and Neglect in Long-term Care Facilities." The articles authored by a plaintiff's lawyer, a state regulator, and a state prosecutor lacked balance, perspective, or context without discussion of the much larger issues facing long-term care facilities across the nation, most notably, inadequate state and federal funding and a dwindling workforce. Wisconsin lawyers representing elderly and disabled clients should have a basic understanding of these important issues as well so that the knee-jerk reaction to these problems is not always sue, fine, or prosecute.

    It is my experience that the people caring for our most vulnerable citizens are among the most dedicated group of professionals I have ever met, working in an industry more highly regulated than any other. The litigate, regulate, and prosecute mentality of the special focus articles does nothing but exacerbate and inflame the misperception and bad rap the industry receives, but in large measure doesn't deserve, especially in Wisconsin, where national statistics show that "substandard" long-term care facilities are the exception, not the rule as inferred by the articles.

    I expected more balance by our Bar's professional journal, rather than the media-hype style series of articles as presented.

    Bob Lightfoot, JD, RN

    As an attorney who represents Wisconsin nursing homes, a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin, and the past chair of the Bar's Health Law Section, I am writing to express my dissatisfaction regarding the August special focus issue, "Abuse and Neglect in Long-term Care Facilities." Failure of the State Bar of Wisconsin to present a more balanced series of articles is a disservice to the State Bar members and in total disregard for the State Bar members who practice in the area of long-term care law. At a minimum, I would have expected the State Bar to solicit articles for this special focus issue from all disciplines of its membership in order to present a balanced discussion of this topic, including those attorneys who represent, and take pride in representing, Wisconsin's nursing homes.

    Colleen O. Patzer

    Editor's Note: Please watch the October issue for a feature article written in response to the August articles.

    Rules Should Reflect That Most Information is in Electronic Form

    I just finished William Gleisner's article, "Electronic Evidence in the 21st Century," in the July issue and wanted to express my thanks for the thought-provoking discussion. A copy of the article will be included in my files because I know that it will come in handy in the near future.

    I agree with the author's proposal of a thorough review of the rules of evidence and discovery to incorporate changes that acknowledge that most information is now in electronic form.

    Daniel Anderson, Presiding Judge

    Wisconsin Court of Appeals,
    District II