TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Feb. 24, 2023) – The Consumer Protection Coalition (CPC) today applauded the House Civil Justice Subcommittee for advancing essential lawsuit abuse reform legislation, House Bill 837, which takes bold steps to improve Florida’s infamous bottom-five legal climate and protect Florida’s consumers from rising costs driven by litigation.
Building on significant property insurance-specific reforms passed during the December 2022 special session, this comprehensive reform package is touted as, “the most significant legal reform in modern history.” The bill, which offers common-sense solutions to end legal abuses in Florida, while ensuring consumers who are truly wronged can seek justice in court, would:
· End 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; and
· Halt inflated jury awards by bringing transparency to the actual cost of medical care provided to injured people.
The CPC thanks subcommittee members for protecting the interests of Florida’s families and local businesses, and praise the bill sponsor, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Tommy Gregory, along with Gov. Ron DeSantis, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and House Speaker Paul Renner, for their leadership and ongoing support on lawsuit abuse reform issues.
“Studies show current ‘lawsuit abuse taxes’ generated by a cottage industry of billboard trial attorneys cost Florida families $5,065 annually. Not only does that hurt Floridians, but it hurts Florida’s competitiveness and reputation as a business-friendly environment,” said Carolyn Johnson, Vice President of Government Affairs at the Florida Chamber of Commerce, and a spokesperson for the Consumer Protection Coalition.
“We’re grateful to the Florida Legislature for recently addressing the rampant litigation abuse that has long plagued Florida’s property insurance policyholders,” Johnson added. “We’re encouraged that HB 837 takes those efforts a step further to protect consumers and local businesses from rising costs driven by frivolous lawsuits, as well as improve our state’s legal climate. We look forward to working with lawmakers to advance this meaningful legislation through committees and to the House floor for a vote.”
HB 837 was passed by the House Civil Justice Subcommittee on Friday and is expected to be heard by the House Judiciary Committee next.
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The Consumer Protection Coalition is a broad-based group of business leaders, consumer advocates, real estate agents, construction contractors, insurance agents and insurance trade groups pushing for reforms to protect consumers from unnecessary high costs and abuse due to the state’s treacherous litigation environment – and advocating for sound public policy that puts consumers first. Learn more about the Coalition at www.FightFraud.Today, follow the Coalition on Twitter @CPC_FL and “like” our page at FB.com/consumerprotectioncoalition.