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 local businesses. The removal of Florida from the American Tort Reform Associations “Judicial Hellholes” list is a positive step in the right direction, but there remains a crucial need to proactively defend against the progress made and proactively address emerging opportunities to further improve our lawsuit abuse climate.
One piece of legislation that was not included in the historic lawsuit abuse reform efforts in 2023 was providing for transparency and accountability in the growing and unregulated industry of Third-Party Litigation Financing (TPLF). TPLF is a growing industry where hedge funds and investors fund litigation as an investment tool, seeking a return on investment. The litigation financing market not only escalates the frequency and scale of cases but also introduces perverse incentives into Florida’s legal landscape, shifting the focus from justice to financial returns.
The current lack of regulation allows sovereign wealth investors and entities controlled by foreign nations, such as the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Saudi Arabia, and companies and investment groups controlled by foreign nation states, such as China and Iran, to fund litigation against Floridians and Florida-based businesses without any safeguards in place.
Senate Bill 1276, by Senator Jay Collins, and House Bill 1179, by Representatives Tommy Gregory and Toby Overdorf, aim not to eliminate financing but to introduce common-sense safeguards and transparency to protect consumers and local businesses across Florida. These bills propose the following:
Requiring disclosure of litigation financing agreements to all involved parties;
Prohibiting litigation financiers from directing or making any decision in the lawsuit they are investing in to prevent them from seeking increased returns on their investment;
Ensuring the plaintiff receives more from the jury verdict than the litigation financier; and
Protecting consumers by requiring financiers to indemnify plaintiffs and their counsel for adverse costs, attorney fees, damages, or sanctions.
The passage of these bills will help shed light on this growing industry and protect consumers from rising lawsuit abuse taxes, which already cost Florida families more than $5,000 in additional costs each year. The Consumer Protection Coalition urges your support of House Bill 1179 and Senate Bill 1276 to provide transparency and accountability in Florida’s legal system.