Lawmakers Continue Advancing Bills to Improve Florida’s Legal Climate
Lawmakers in the Florida House of Representatives continue taking steps to improve on Florida’s bottom-five legal climate and lower the cost of doing business on Florida’s families and small-businesses.
The House Civil Justice Subcommittee and the House Insurance and Banking Subcommittee passed three Florida Chamber-backed lawsuit abuse reform bills this week:
- Medical Malpractice- PCB CJS 19-02
- Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine- HB 355
- Duty of Good Faith – HB 751
Three additional lawsuit abuse reform related bills are expected to be heard on Monday in the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee, including AOB reform (SB 122). Also, on Monday, SB 1464 (Fair Settlement Act) and SB 862 (Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine) are expected to be heard.
Three Ways You Can Get Involved:
- Watch Senator Doug Broxson talk about the importance of AOB reform on the Florida Chamber Bottom Line.
- Sign the petition seeking AOB reform by visiting www.FightFraud.Today.
- Read Florida Chamber CEO’s Point of View: Florida lawmakers must fix the assignment of benefits crisis.
Florida Supreme Court Rejects New Expert Witness Standards
On February 16, the Florida Supreme Court rejected the Florida Legislature’s efforts to improve the state’s expert witness standards. The Court rejected the adoption of the Daubert Standard and new evidence standards in medical malpractice cases. The Florida Chamber supported both pieces of legislation to elevate expert witness standards.
In 2013, the Legislature passed HB 7015 – filed by Representative Metz – which would have rejected the Frye standard in favor of Daubert. This evidence standard is used in federal court and in 36 other states, and would have only allowed expert testimony if it met a three-pronged test. Without such a test in place, as has been done by rejecting the new expert witness standards, the Supreme Court has made it easier for trial lawyers to enter junk science into court proceedings, and thereby further obfuscate the truth on important issues.
The Supreme Court rejected the new standard due to submitted comments on the constitutionality of the new standard. Justice Polston, in his dissent, wrote, “Has the Entire federal court system for the last 23 years as well as 36 states denied parties’ rights to a jury trial and access to courts?… Of course not.”
The Florida Legislature in 2013 also adopted SB 1792, which relates to medical negligence actions. A provision of this legislation would have required that medical expert witnesses be of the same specialty, rather than of the same or similar specialty. The Florida Supreme Court rejected this standard also on the grounds of constitutionality, under access to courts.
Frustrated by Florida’s bottom-ten legal climate? Next week, the trial lawyers are trying to further deteriorate Florida’s legal climate by passing prejudgment interest. Learn more about where the Florida Chamber stands on legal reform, and contact your legislators by clicking here.