ENDING LAWSUIT ABUSES THAT HURTS FLORIDA FAMILIES
Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida legislature have taken important steps in recent years to rein in rampant litigation abuse that has plagued the state for decades and made life in the Sunshine State less affordable for consumers and businesses. After spending years on the nation’s “Judicial Hellhole” list compiled by the American Tort Reform Association, Florida has moved to ATRA’s “watchlist.”
But there is more work to be done, and hope is on the horizon.
How bad is the state’s litigation environment? Astoundingly, Florida households are paying an extra $5,065 annually due to lawsuit abuse and $3250 in frivolous litigation taxes according to two recent studies. That tax, which is the result of frivolous lawsuits and gaming of the state’s legal system to the benefit of billboard trial lawyers, accounts for $50 billion of the state’s economy. When accounting for total lawsuit abuse costs as a percentage of state GDP, Florida ranks the highest of any other state at 3.63% with no other state above the 3% mark. Florida’s litigation climate is an added cost to every consumer and a drain on economic growth; enacting HB 837 and SB 236 targeting this lawsuit abuse will grow the state’s economy.
Two bills have been filed in the 2023 legislative session that comprise a historic lawsuit abuse reform package overwhelmingly supported by Governor Ron DeSantis, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and House Speaker Paul Renner.
The package of lawsuit abuse reform bills – House Bill 837 by Representatives Tommy Gregory and Tom Fabricio and Senate Bill 236 by Senator Travis Hutson – would do the following:
Address one-way attorney fees, extending the reforms passed in December beyond property insurance;
Modernize bad faith laws to balance the scales between plaintiff attorneys and business;
Halt inflated jury awards by bringing transparency to the actual cost of medical care provided to injured people;
Prevent contingency fee multipliers unless under rare and exceptional circumstances;
Ensure parties committing intentional acts are considered for liability purposes;
Improve timely resolution of claims by reducing the statute of limitations; and
Eliminate damages if the injured person is majority at fault.
Passage of these bills will bring much needed relief to Floridians, who are footing the bill through higher prices on everything from toothpaste to insurance premiums due to the state’s lawsuit abuse climate. The historic package will improve Florida’s legal climate, which is a dark cloud on Florida’s reputation as one of the most business-friendly states in the nation. The Consumer Protection Coalition urges you to secure historic lawsuit abuse reform by supporting House Bill 837 and Senate Bill 236 in 2023!