Coalition for Legal Reform
Florida is one of the worst states in the nation for lawsuits; in fact, Florida’s 41st worst legal climate ranking puts our state in the bottom 10 in the nation – a reputation that does nothing to attract new businesses or give existing business owners the confidence they need to grow their business, make investments or increase their workforce.
The Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Coalition for Legal Reform supports four common sense legal reforms that, if enacted, would improve Florida’s competitiveness and restore justice to families, consumers and small businesses.
Reforms for expert evidence, fair settlement and accuracy in damages will help our state take a large step toward eliminating Florida’s reputation as a haven for unfair settlement lawsuits and stop plaintiff attorneys from coming to our state to play the lawsuit lottery. The fourth is leveling the playing field in medical liability laws, which the coalition is supporting in partnership with the health care community.
Reduced Junk Science Lawsuit Abuse
SB 1412 (Sen. Richter), HB 7015 (Rep. Metz) – Passed, Signed by Governor on June 4, 2013
Eliminating junk science from the courtroom brings Florida’s expert evidence standards in line with all federal courts and many other states helps improve on Florida’s ranking as the 41st worst legal environment. Although plaintiff trial lawyers battled to prevent legal reform throughout session, we were able to reduce junk science lawsuit abuse.
Reformed Medical Liability
SB 1792, HB 827 (Rep. Gaetz) – Passed, Signed by Governor on June 5, 2013
Ensuring doctors have a right to an attorney and requiring physicians testifying in medical liability lawsuits to be in the same fi eld makes Florida’s legal environment friendlier for physicians. Although there is more reform needed, this is an important step to keeping the best doctors in Florida.
Protected Employers from Additional Lawsuits
Preventing attempts to make job creators pay higher fees and damages in lawsuits further improves Florida’s 41st worst legal climate status. Efforts to have medical liability lawsuits determined by a government-run panel instead of Florida’s courtrooms were also blocked.
Florida is one of the worst states in the country for lawsuits. Our 41st ranking in a national survey leaves us in the bottom 10 in legal climate. Consider that:
- Florida families and businesses are paying a lawsuit abuse “tax” that totals a staggering $2.8 billion.
- Florida could grow its economy by as much as two percent simply by saying “no” to the trial lawyers’ agenda and eliminating the lawsuit abuse tax by making our laws more fair and predictable.
- Florida consumers pay 30% more for bodily injury coverage per vehicle due to third party settlement lawsuits.
- More than 58% of Florida small business owners surveyed identifi ed personal injury lawyers as the primary benefi ciary of the current third party settlement law.
- 83% of Floridians believe trial lawyers are more motivated by money than protecting the rights of people.
Plaintiff trial lawyers lobby for Florida’s lawsuit friendly climate, spend millions to elect lawsuit friendly candidates, and fi ght vigorously to protect their lucrative industry. It’s an anchor around the neck of free enterprise and jobs.
For a more competitive business climate and legal climate, the fight for free enterprise continues. Instead of short-term quick fi xes, the Florida Chamber is focused on long-term solutions to grow the private-sector and help small businesses and families.
Accuracy in Damages Legal Reform
Ensuring juries are given a clear picture of true medical costs when deciding current and future medical damage awards in personal injury cases would improve Florida’s bottom ten legal climatet ranking and would make Florida more competitive.
Fair Settlement Legal Reform
Establishing a clearly defined timeline would force plaintiff attorneys and insurers to play by the same set of fair settlement rules in Florida’s courtrooms. Today, justice is not served because the advantage is always to the plaintiff trial lawyer.
- 2013 Legislative Summary (PDF Document)
- One-Pager: Coalition for Legal Reform – Daubert Standard: Modernizing Florida’s Expert Testimony (PDF Document)
- One-Pager: Coalition for Legal Reform – Fair Settlement (PDF Document)
- One-Pager: Coalition for Legal Reform – Accuracy in Damages (PDF Document)
- One-Pager: Coalition for Legal Reform – Level the Playing Field in Medical Liability Laws (PDF Document)
- News Release: Coalition for Legal Reform Applauds House Subcommittee on Civil Justice for Passing House Bill 587
- News Release: Coalition for Legal Reform Details Reforms to Improve Competitiveness & Restore Justice to Families, Consumers & Small Businesses
- Where We Stand
- How They Voted
- Legislative Report Card
- The Florida Scorecard
In the News
- Veteran Prosecutor Supports Expert Evidence Legal Reform (PDF Document)
- Legal Reform Will Restore Justice, Boost Florida’s Economy (PDF Document)
- Cindy Graves Show, AM 600 WBOB (March 13,2013 (MP3)