Will the Senate Pass Lawsuit Abuse Reform?

The Florida House continued to move key lawsuit abuse reforms during the seventh week of the 2020 Legislative Session and passed its first bad faith bill out of a committee in five years. Unfortunately, time is running out with the legislative session ending on March 13, and several priorities have stalled in the Florida Senate. Your help is needed, but first, here’s the rundown of what happened this week:

Accuracy in Damages

HB 9, also known as “Accuracy in Damages,” continued to advance in the House despite efforts by the trial bar to add a poison pill amendment. The amendment would have allowed the jury to see if the defense had liability insurance, but was defeated handily after testimony from the Florida Chamber and our partners at the Florida Justice Reform Institute. This bill is now poised to be taken up by the House. Despite the common-sense reforms to allow a jury to see the amount that is customarily accepted for a medical procedure, the bill is stuck in the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee, which is not scheduled to meet again.

Lawsuit Lending

Lawsuit Lending, or HB 7041, had its last of three committee hearings in the House. The bill adds consumer protections and creates regulations around the lawsuit lending industry, an industry that has cropped up in the last decade. These high-interest “loans” tend to force plaintiffs not to act in their best interests, and HB 7041 attempts to curb predatory practices by these lenders.

Bad Faith

In a late session surprise, a committee substitute amendment on bad faith reform was filed to an innocuous insurance bill in the House Commerce Committee. HB 895 was further amended to improve the bad faith language in the original amendment, and changes the civil remedy notice process and attempts to fix third-party bad faith. Florida is one of the few states in the country that allows for third-party bad faith, which costs Florida policyholders an additional $106 per insured vehicle in Florida. Opponents of the measure have requested that additional committee references be added to slow down the progress of the measure.

While it’s hard to say what is truly dead until the gavels drop on “Sine Die,” the conclusion of session, it appears that several lawsuit abuse issues are dead. Those issues include addressing municipal litigation, product liability actions, and trial lawyer advertising.

We Need Your Help

Without your action, lawsuit abuse reform efforts might not pass. Several key priorities that are ready for the House floor need hearings in the Senate, and we need YOU to urge senators to pass meaningful legal reform. The Florida Chamber and the rest of the business community submitted letters to Governor DeSantis asking for lawsuit abuse reform.

Click HERE to ask your senator to improve on Florida’s bottom-five legal climate and support the following:
• Accuracy in Damages
• Bad Faith
• Litigation Financing
• Contingency Risk Multiplier

Lawsuit Abuse Reform Slowing

Lawsuit abuse reform slowed down this week as bills started to get jammed up in committee. Three weeks remain in the legislative session, which ends on March 13, and an uphill battle remains to get issues across the finish line. Here is what continued to move during week six.

Accuracy in Damages

The House Commerce Committee moved HB 9, accuracy in damages, by Representative Tom Leek out of committee Thursday, while the Senate bill was temporarily postponed due to lack of votes in its third of four committee stops. It’s unclear if the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee will meet again to consider SB 1668. These bills would allow juries to see the amount usually and customarily paid for a medical service, in addition to the amount billed.

Litigation Financing

Litigation financing was held up in the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee with several amendments as the clock ran out on the committee. SB 1828 by Senator Doug Broxson protects consumers from these payday loans of the lawsuit industry. The Senate bill still has three committee stops remaining, however it’s believed the majority of substantive committees will not meet during weeks seven through nine. The House companion, HB 7041, has one committee hearing remaining which is the House Commerce Committee.

Asbestos Trust Claims

Asbestos Trust Claims continued to move this week with a hearing in the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee. SB 1582 brings transparency to the trust claim process and ensures that claims move legitimately and more quickly through the judicial process.

Motor Vehicle Dealers

Motor Vehicle Dealers zipped through its second of three committee hearings in the Senate this week. The bill clarifies that the dangerous instrumentality doctrine does not apply to loaner vehicles while a car is being serviced by a motor vehicle dealer. This exemption already applies to vehicle leases. Both the House and Senate bill have one committee stop remaining.

The Florida Chamber will continue the fight to improve Florida’s bottom-five legal climate. Now is the time to contact your lawmaker and ask for meaningful lawsuit abuse reform this session.

Ensure Your Voice Is Heard

The Florida Chamber is leading Florida’s lawsuit abuse reform efforts, and your support is essential to demonstrating how Florida’s legal climate harms businesses and families. Click here to share which legal climate issues are most important to you.

Senator Jeff Brandes Calls for Narrowing the Use of Contingency Fee Multipliers – the “Slot Machine” for the Legal Profession – on the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line

TALLAHASSEE, FL (February 21, 2020) – As the Florida Legislature tackles narrowing the use of contingency fee multipliers, Senator Jeff Brandes tells the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line that these fee escalators were never designed to be “the slot machines for the legal profession.”

In fact, contingency fee multipliers, which are used by trial lawyers to get legal fees two or three times higher than their normal, hourly rate, are only granted in “rare and exceptional” circumstances everywhere but Florida.

“We’re trying to level the playing field and set the standards as where it is in the rest of the 49 states and the federal standard,” Brandes explains.

Florida’s bottom five legal climate is costing the average family $4,442 each year in lawsuit abuse ‘taxes.’ Lawsuit abuse reform is a top legislative priority for the Florida Chamber.

Senator Brandes also discusses criminal justice reform as well as the future of innovation and disruptive technologies.

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Established in 1916 as Florida’s first statewide business advocacy organization, the Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

Governor DeSantis’s Legislative Affairs Director Stephanie Kopelousos Shares Insights on EFI, Legal Reform & VISIT FLORIDA on the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line

TALLAHASSEE, FL (February 12, 2020) – When Governor Ron DeSantis outlined his 2020 legislative priorities during his annual State of the State speech just five weeks ago, he encouraged lawmakers to continue improving on Florida’s bottom-five legal environment by passing meaningful lawsuit abuse reforms.

On the latest edition of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line, Stephanie Kopelousos, Legislative Affairs Director for Governor Ron DeSantis explains why it’s important to improve on Florida’s bottom-five legal climate.

“I think you see legislation this session that are going through that I think will make a difference. But the Governor’s made it a clear priority, just look at how many judicial appointments he’s made in really trying to get us from the bottom – we are at the bottom – in making that climate better for Floridians,” Kopelousos says.

Additionally, with a budget battle brewing between the House and Senate, Kopelousos explains why it’s important for the legislature to invest, as Governor DeSantis has recommended, in Florida’s tourism marketing and economic development programs by funding VISIT FLORIDA and Enterprise Florida, Inc.

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Established in 1916 as Florida’s first statewide business advocacy organization, the Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

Gov. DeSantis’s Legislative Director Gives Insights on Enterprise Florida, Legal Reform & VISIT FLORIDA

When Governor Ron DeSantis outlined his 2020 legislative priorities during his annual State of the State speech just five weeks ago, he encouraged lawmakers to continue improving on Florida’s bottom five legal environment by passing meaning lawsuit abuse reforms.

On the latest edition of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line, Stephanie Kopelousos, Legislative Affairs Director for Governor Ron DeSantis explains why it’s important to improve on Florida’s bottom five legal climate.

“I think you see legislation this session that are going through that I think will make a difference. But the Governor’s made it a clear priority, just look at how many judicial appointments he’s made in really trying to get us from the bottom – we are at the bottom – in making that climate better for Floridians,” Kopelousos says.

Additionally, with a budget battle brewing between the House and Senate, Kopelousos explains why it’s important for the legislature to invest, as Governor DeSantis has recommended, in Florida’s tourism marketing and economic development programs by funding VISIT FLORIDA and Enterprise Florida, Inc.

Senator Wilton Simpson Explains Why Tort Reform Can Help Improve High Insurance Costs

Representative Tom Leek Puts Consumers Ahead of Billboard Trial Lawyers with Bill Stopping Scare Tactics Aimed at Seniors

TALLAHASSEE, FL (February 3, 2020) – The Florida Chamber of Commerce continues turning up the pressure on Florida’s bottom five legal climate, joining Governor Ron DeSantis and legislative leaders to take on billboard trial lawyers. Lawsuit abuse impacts all Floridians, costing the average family $4,442 each year in lawsuit abuse ‘taxes.’

On the latest edition of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line, Representative Tom Leek explains why it’s important to put consumers ahead of billboard lawyers – particularly those that are deploying scare tactics aimed at seniors. Rep. Leek’s legal advertising bill, CJS2, will be heard Tuesday in the Civil Justice Subcommittee.

Rep. Leek also discusses accuracy in damages and asbestos trust claims.

Accuracy in Damages: This legislation allows a jury to see the usual and customary amount of a medical service, ensuring the cost of medical care is not inflated specifically for personal injury cases, and effectively curtailing the gamesmanship being used with letters of protection. (HB 9)

Asbestos Trust Claims: This legislation brings transparency to the trust claim process and ensures that claims move legitimately through the judicial process. (HB 741)

Asbestos Trust Claims: This legislation brings transparency to the trust claim process and ensures that claims move legitimately through the judicial process. (HB 741)

Predatory Practices by Lawsuit Lenders: This legislation provides greater transparency to help ensure that consumers understand the terms of the loan and that all parties of the case are aware that others could benefit from the outcome of the case. (HB 7041)

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Established in 1916 as Florida’s first statewide business advocacy organization, the Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

Your Support of Lawsuit Abuse Reform is Working…

Lawmakers Are Making Progress On Improving Florida’s Legal Climate

The Florida Chamber continues turning up the pressure on Florida’s bottom five legal climate, joining Governor Ron DeSantis and legislative leaders to take on billboard trial lawyers. Lawsuit abuse impacts all Floridians, from job creators to the families that pay more than $4,400 each year in lawsuit abuse “taxes.”

Accuracy in Damages

The House and Senate this week took up Florida Chamber-backed accuracy in damages legislation that allows a jury to see the usual and customary amount of a medical service, ensuring the cost of medical care is not inflated specifically for personal injury cases, and effectively curtailing the gamesmanship being used with letters of protection. Thank you to Senator David Simmons and Representative Tom Leek for leading on this issue.

Contingency Risk Multiplier

The House Judiciary Committee proposed limiting contingency fee multipliers to rare and unusual circumstances. This overturns a Florida Supreme Court decision, Joyce v. Federated National Insurance Company, which made contingency fee multipliers the rule and not the exception in property insurance cases. The Florida Chamber supports this effort.

Asbestos Trust Claims

HB 741 by Representative Tom Leek moved through its last committee stop this week and is now ready for the House Floor. HB 741 brings transparency to the trust claim process and ensures that claims move legitimately through the judicial process. Rep. Leek continues championing Florida Chamber-backed lawsuit abuse reform legislation.

Ensure Your Voice Is Heard

The Florida Chamber is leading Florida’s lawsuit abuse reform efforts, and your support is essential to demonstrating how Florida’s legal climate harms businesses and families. Click here to share which legal climate issues are most important to you.

Your Local Lake or River Could Sue You? Not On Our Watch

Lawmakers Reject Extremist Efforts in Support of Environmental Stewardship

The high cost of living in Florida’s bottom five legal climate means Sunshine State families pay more than $4,442 in “lawsuit taxes” every year. The Florida Chamber knows that frivolous lawsuits are no way to run a business or a state.

Yet some environmental extremists want Floridians to be able to sue on behalf of Mother Nature, potentially costing Florida families even more. The so-called “rights of nature” movement would give legal rights to some water bodies and give standing for nearly any person to sue an individual, organization, business or government for otherwise lawful activities.

Thankfully, legislative committees this week – with support from the Florida Chamber – pushed back against these efforts by passing SB 1382 by Senator Ben Albritton and HB 1199 by Representative Blaise Ingoglia, which would stop this harmful legal doctrine in Florida. Thank you to Senator Albritton and Representative Ingoglia for leading on this important bill.

Unfortunately, allowing your local lake or river to sue you won’t be the only bad idea that surfaces this year.

Sign the Petition to Help Ensure Florida’s Water Future Is Sustainable

You can help by SIGNING THE PETITION for common sense solutions to solving Florida’s current and future water quality issues.

Survey Says…Workforce Quality Still Keeping Job Creators Up at Night

Even though Florida is outpacing the national average is jobs created, survey results from the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s First Quarter Small Business Index Survey show that workforce continues to be the top concern among Florida small businesses. The is the 11th quarter out of 12 that small businesses have ranked this issue among their top concern.

“While Florida’s job creators should expect a strong 2020, continuing to outpace the nation in job creation, they continue to be highly concerned about finding qualified workers.”

Dr. Jerry Parrish
Chief Economist and Director of Research, Florida Chamber Foundation

While the probability of a recession is declining, Florida’s job creators are now much more concerned about government regulations and mandates for Florida businesses, which entered the top three.

The Florida Chamber’s first quarter Small Business Index Survey shows small businesses are most concerned about:

• Workforce Quality – 28 percent
• Healthcare Costs – 13 percent
• Government Regulations – 12 percent
• Economic Uncertainty – 10 percent
• Lawsuit Abuse – 4 percent

Despite their concern about workforce quality, job creators expect higher sales than last year. Of Florida small businesses, 69 percent of respondents expect to have higher sales than the previous year. Additionally, 49 percent of respondents expect to hire in the next six months, up from 39 percent in last quarter’s survey.

“Entrepreneurs and small businesses are the backbone of Florida’s economy, and the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council remains committed to advocating on their behalf.”

Glenda Hood
Chair of the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council
Member, Florida Chamber Board of Directors
President, Hood Partners

Click here to download the full report.

Get Involved

The Florida Chamber recognizes that small business is big business. To learn more about becoming a member of the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council, contact Carolyn Johnson at cjohnson@flchamber.com or (850) 521-1235.

Florida Chamber Releases 2020 Jobs Agenda

FLORIDA CHAMBER’S 2020 JOBS AGENDA

Keeping Florida’s Momentum Going and Predicting 200,000 New Jobs in 2020

“Making Florida more competitive is essential for job and economic growth.”

MARK WILSON, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce

TALLAHASSEE, FL (January 13, 2020) – Job creators are gathering in Tallahassee this week with optimism that Florida can keep the momentum going, create 200,000 new jobs this year, and strengthen Florida’s economy even more through actions by the Florida Legislature and Governor Ron DeSantis. Additionally, job creators have released the Florida Chamber’s 2020 Jobs Agenda, commonly referred to as the Florida Business Agenda, which highlights where the Florida Chamber stands on key legislative decisions. 

Business leaders from throughout Florida are gathering this week at the Capitol as part of the Florida Chamber’s Annual Legislative Fly-In, and are sharing the Florida Chamber’s 2020 Jobs Agenda which will help create jobs, lower the cost of living and lift incomes – with the belief that Florida’s best days are yet to come.

The Florida Chamber is uniting the business community for good to:

– Lower the Cost of Living,
-Reduce the Cost of Doing Business, and
-Better Prepare for Florida’s Future Growth.

These are ideas outlined in Florida’s 2030 Blueprint, commonly known as Florida’s next Strategic Plan.

“The Florida Chamber’s annual jobs and competitiveness agenda – the Florida Business Agenda – is a set of priorities that will help grow private sector jobs, continue to create economic opportunity in Florida and further diversify our economy,” said Charles Caulkins, Chair of the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Partner at Fisher Phillips.

For the last nine years, Florida has outpaced the U.S. economy in job growth. As Florida will grow at approximately 900 new residents daily, Florida Chamber Foundation Chief Economist Dr. Jerry Parrish predicts that Florida will create 200,000 new jobs in 2020 and that the Sunshine State has a lower probability of recession than last year.

“If Florida was a stock, it would be considered a strong buy. While Florida’s economic outlook for 2020 is positive, it’s not without risks which is why passing the Florida Chamber’s Jobs Agenda is so important,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

The Florida Chamber’s 2020 Jobs Agenda Includes:

Lowering the Cost of Living:

Lawsuit abuse essentially amounts to additional taxes on Florida families over $4,000 each year. Florida’s lawsuit climate currently ranks 46 out of 50 in a national survey conducted by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform.

  • The Florida Legislature should improve Florida’s legal climate by passing common-sense reforms to curtail abuse of Florida’s legal system.

“If we make the legal climate so it’s based on the clients rather than the attorneys, I think that would be a better climate,” Governor Ron DeSantis said when the national survey ranking Florida’s lawsuit climate among the nation’s worst was released.

Reducing Florida’s Cost of Doing Business:

Discouraging and anti-competitive tax policies, like the Florida-only business rent tax and lack of internet sales tax collection, make Florida less competitive.

  • The Florida Legislature should advance globally competitive tax policies by reducing the Business Rent Tax and modernizing Florida’s tax code to collect sales tax on internet transactions from out-of-state retailers.

Preparing for the Future Growth:

According to www.TheFloridaScorecard.org, there are 284,800 jobs looking for people and 323,000 people looking for jobs. Finding a qualified workforce is a top concern for job creators. Employers need talent that is prepared to enter the workforce, and Florida wins when we close the talent gap.

The Florida Legislature should:

  • Continue to focus on early learning, talent and workforce shortage solutions. 
  • Continue to support the legislatively-created Talent Development Council to develop a coordinated, data-driven, statewide approach to meeting Florida’s needs for a 21st century workforce that employers and educators use as part of Florida’s talent supply system. This also supports Governor DeSantis’s efforts to have the number one workforce in America.

By 2030, 4.5 million more residents will call Florida home. A growing Florida means a growing need for forward-thinking infrastructure investments in Florida’s energy, water, transportation, telecommunications, agriculture and other hard and soft infrastructure sectors.

The Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition recommends that the Florida Legislature:

  • Continue to make long-term investments in energy, transportation, resiliency and water policy for Florida’s future.

Florida is currently experiencing a shortage of access to high-value, quality healthcare and that is a problem that will continue to grow as Florida’s population grows. That is why we support expanding scope of practice laws to allow for greater access to care, particularly in rural and underserved communities.

The Florida Chamber’s Healthcare Partnership encourages the Florida Legislature to:

  • Support expanding scope of practice for Advanced Practitioners and allow them to practice medicine to the full extent of their education and training.

“Year after year, the Florida Chamber has been at the forefront of solving issues that impact the competitiveness and future of Florida’s business climate. Our focus remains steadfast in our efforts to be the driving force uniting Florida’s business community for good, creating economic opportunity and growing jobs,” Wilson added.

The Florida Chamber will track each bill on the Florida Business Agenda, and votes will be used as the basis for grading lawmakers at the conclusion of the Legislative Session. We look forward to working with Governor DeSantis, Senate President Bill Galvano and Speaker of the House Jose Oliva to keep Florida’s momentum going.

The Florida Chamber’s 2020 Florida Business Agenda can be downloaded HERE.

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The Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

Lawsuit Abuse Reform: Be Part of the Solution

“If we make the (legal climate) so it’s based on the clients rather than the attorneys, I think that would be a better climate.”

GOVERNOR RON DESANTIS

Reforming Florida’s Legal Climate

You’ve seen the ads…promises made for hefty awards because trial lawyers are “looking out for you.”

Lawsuit abuse is the number one reason Florida’s legal climate ranks among the worst in the country – 46 out of 50, and it’s hurting our ability to compete. Florida’s toxic legal climate is costing Floridians to the tune of $4,442 per household – that’s $1,100 a year more than the national average.

That’s why the Florida Chamber is leading the charge and taking on decades of lawsuit abuse and declaring war on Florida’s poor lawsuit climate. It’s why we’ve joined with Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida legislature to put consumers over trial lawyers.

Now more than ever, Florida’s business community must unite for good to help transform Florida’s legal climate from the bottom five to among the best in the country.

Register today to attend the Florida Chamber’s Legislative Fly-In and learn how you can join the fight to ensure Florida’s bottom five legal climate reflects its past and not its future.

Florida Chamber’s Litigation Center Files Supreme Court Brief Opposing Misleading Marijuana Ballot Proposal

Ever since the rights of animals (pregnant pigs) were enshrined into the Florida Constitution in 2002, the Florida Chamber of Commerce has made it a priority to champion and protect Florida’s Constitution from out-of-state and special interest groups.

Continuing our efforts to Protect Our Constitution, and in keeping with the Florida Chamber’s recently adopted Strategic Plan, the Florida Chamber’s Litigation Center has filed a court brief opposing a misleading and unlawful ballot measure that allegedly seeks to Regulate Marijuana in a Manner Similar to Alcohol to Establish Age, Licensing, and Other Restrictions (16-02).

The Florida Chamber’s court brief encourages the Florida Supreme Court to strike down this unconstitutional proposal. As written, the recreational marijuana ballot proposal should be disallowed because it:

• Is misleading, ambiguous and doesn’t clearly announce the purpose of the ballot measure, and
• Violates Florida’s single subject requirement.

The Florida Chamber’s Litigation Center filed our court brief earlier this month. Shortly afterwards, Attorney General Ashley Moody also filed a brief arguing the amendment should be removed from consideration for many of the same reasons the Florida Chamber argues. The Florida House of Representatives also filed in opposition.

Incredibly, the recreational marijuana ballot proposal is longer than Article 1 of the Florida Constitution and is longer than the previous 30 Constitutional amendments combined.

“There is no way 10 pages of the law can be summarized clearly in 75 words or less and would adequately convey to the voters what exactly they will be voting on.”

Attorney General Ashley Moody

From a procedural standpoint, the recreational marijuana ballot proposal, in mid-September, had secured enough verified signatures to trigger an official review by the Florida Supreme Court. The proposal continues to collect signatures and as of today, has secured 92,403 signed petitions. The proposal must still collect another 673,924 signed verified petitions by February 1, 2020. Additionally, before the measure can be added to the 2020 general election ballot, it must receive approval from the Florida Supreme Court.

Since 1970, Florida’s Constitution has been amended more than 120 times, whereas the U.S. Constitution has only been amended 27 times.

The Florida Chamber’s opposition is less about the subject matter of this amendment, and more about the amendment being out of compliance with the process for amending the Constitution. However, we are also concerned about the health, safety, welfare and brand of Florida, so Florida can avoid the problems and bad brand Colorado and Oregon are experiencing.

If ever there was an issue that deserved clarity for voters, it’s this issue. Condensing 10 pages and over 6,000 words into a 75-word summary and a 15-word title needed to be in compliance with Florida’s constitutional amendment process, this ballot proposal clearly isn’t, and we hope the court agrees.

Please note, there are 27 amendments trying to qualify for the 2020 ballot, including four more marijuana proposals (two regarding recreational legalization, and two regarding medical marijuana), and the Florida Chamber team is monitoring all of them daily.

For additional information or to report fraudulent signature gathering activity, please call Christopher Emmanuel at 850-521-1242.

When it comes to protecting Florida’s Constitution, the Florida Chamber is leading a united business community to secure Florida’s future.

$4,442 Reasons to Fix Florida’s Broken Legal Climate

At the 2019 Future of Florida Forum – the “$4,442 Reasons to Fix Florida’s Broken Legal Climate” panel with Florida Justice Reform Institute President @large_williamw, COO of @LegalReform Harold Kim, Representative @TomLeekforFL, and Senate President-Designate @WiltonSimpson.

Practicing Medicine in Florida Hurting Hour Pocketbook?

Physicians are Paying More to Provide Healthcare Services

84 percent more.

That’s what physician’s practicing medicine in Florida are paying for medical malpractice coverage compared to other state premiums. And the reason is because of Florida’s abysmal lawsuit abuse climate.

In past years, Florida’s former activist Supreme Court dismantled important legal reform efforts, which ultimately drove up the cost of medical malpractice claims. In fact, the cost of insurance has forced some providers to purchase less insurance, resulting in lower insurance limits, big verdicts, and companies forced to settle to avoid a bad faith claim – further driving up the cost of medical malpractice insurance.

It’s not only costing healthcare providers, it’s costing Florida families too. In fact, studies show that every Florida household’s share of the lawsuit system is $4,442. That’s $1,100 a year more than the national average.

And it’s among the reasons that Florida’s abysmal lawsuit climate was just ranked among the five worst states in the country – 46 out of 50 according to the latest national survey.

The 2019 Lawsuit Climate Survey: Ranking the States was conducted by the renowned polling firm The Harris Poll on behalf of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, and it questioned senior business executives about the fairness and reasonableness of state court systems.

Miami-Dade County, a trial lawyer haven, has the worst litigation environment in the entire country, according to 13 percent of those surveyed. Even more concerning is that 89 percent of executives surveyed said a state’s lawsuit climate is becoming a more significant factor when deciding where to locate or grow additional jobs.

Said differently, Florida’s legal climate could cost Florida new jobs.Thankfully, Florida leaders are turning the page to ensure sunnier days are ahead.

Sunnier Days Are Ahead for Florida’s Lawsuit Climate

Change is already happening to move Florida’s lawsuit abuse climate in the right direction. Gov. Ron DeSantis’ three recent appointments to the Florida Supreme Court have transformed the high court, and an empowered state legislature is more willing to take on billboard trial lawyers.


In May, the Supreme Court rightly adopted a rule called the Daubert standard to keep junk science out of the courtroom. The rule was already in place in 40 other states and the federal courts, giving a huge win to free enterprise that had faced an onslaught of litigation based on faulty science.

Additionally, the legislature also indicated they are ready to turn things around now that they have willing partners in both the executive and judicial branches. For the past six years, homeowners have been dealing with increasing property insurance rates partly due to trial lawyers filing get-rich-quick lawsuits. This year, the Florida legislature finally passed a bipartisan consumer protection measure to end the abusive assignment of benefits (AOB) practice, which Gov. DeSantis signed into law. The Legislature also tackled the “dangerous instrumentality doctrine,” a Florida-only court-created doctrine that allowed billboard trial lawyers to go after deeper pockets.

Keeping the momentum going is essential to tackle issues like bad faith, AOB auto glass and “truth in damages.”

Florida Chamber is Uniting the Businesses Community

The Florida Chamber is uniting the business community behind the common goal of transforming our legal climate from the bottom five to tops in the nation. We’re taking on decades of lawsuit abuse and declaring war on Florida’s poor lawsuit climate.

Florida’s bottom five legal climate reflects its past, not its future, and it’s why we’ve joined with Gov. DeSantis and the Florida legislature to put consumers over trial lawyers.

“If we make the (legal climate) so it’s based on the clients rather than the attorneys, I think that would be a better climate.”

Governor Ron DeSantis

Help Fix Florida’s Broken Legal System

As Florida competes to be a top 10 global economy by 2030, improving its legal climate is essential. The Florida Chamber of Commerce is leading the charge, and will continue efforts to reduce out-of-control litigation while protecting consumers and job creators alike.

Sign the Petition to Fix Florida’s Broken Legal System
-Help Develop the Florida Business Agenda by Taking the Florida’s Chamber’s Survey.
-ICYMI: Arbitration Under Attack in Washington While Florida Politicians Work for Real Legal Reforms, State Chamber Says

September 30, 2019