Citizens for Lawsuit Abuse calls for further reform measures as Judicial Hellhole report releases

by | Feb 7, 2023

  • The Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) held a press conference in the Florida Capitol, where Executive Director Tom Gaitens called for further measures in lawsuit reform.
  • The release of the annual Judicial Hellholes Report placed Florida on its Watch List, an upgrade from last year’s report, but the organization claims that there is still much work to be done.
  • According to information from CALA, lawsuit abuse and excessive tort costs wipe out billions of dollars of economic activity annually.
  • Lawmakers are expected to file a series of bills ahead of the upcoming Legislative Session taking aim at lawsuit reform.

Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) held a press conference in the Florida Capitol on Tuesday where Executive Director Tom Gaitens called for further measures in lawsuit reform following the release of the annual Judicial Hellholes Report, which placed Florida on its ‘Watch List.’

While CALA praised the forward momentum of the state in the Judicial Hellholes report — moving up from last year’s ‘Hellhole’ distinction — Gaitens claims that there is much more work to do.

According to information provided by CALA, lawsuit abuse and excessive tort costs wipe out billions of dollars of economic activity on an annual basis. Per the report, Florida residents pay $812.52 per person in what the organization referred to as a “tort tax.”

Further, from 2010 to 2019, Florida produced the most nuclear verdicts of any state in America, according to a study conducted by the U.S. Chamber, totaling $35 billion.

A nuclear verdict is a colloquial term used in the legal field to describe an extremely high verdict or judgment in a lawsuit, especially in the context of tort cases involving personal injury or wrongful death.

“Despite all the work done by the Florida Supreme Court and Gov. Ron DeSantis to mitigate lawsuit abuse, much-needed reforms continue to stall in the Florida Legislature,” the report reads. “The legislature needs to address issues including inflated medical damages and deceptive trial lawyer advertising and take additional action to respond to the state’s property insurance crisis.”

In a special session late last year, the Florida Legislature approved legislation to address the ongoing property insurance crisis, which was partially spurred by an excess of lawsuits. According to the Judicial Hellholes report, Florida is home to more property insurance lawsuits than all other states combined.

In 2021, there were 100,595 lawsuits in Florida resulting in $7.8 billion in damages. Nationwide, there were 24,700 lawsuits that created $2.4 billion in damages during the same timeframe.

Senate Bill 2D, signed during the special session, sought to reduce frivolous litigation by reserving attorney fee multipliers, requiring proof that an insurer breached its agreement with a policyholder before a lawsuit can be filed, and preventing insureds from transferring their unilateral right to receive attorneys’ fees to contractors.

Despite the past measures, Rep. Bob Rommel, who joined Gaitens on Tuesday, called upon state lawmakers to draft and file new bills for consideration.

“Because of the ongoing abuse that we’ve seen in lawsuits here in Florida, we continue to see insurance companies leave, we continue to see the inability for us to attract new insurance companies, and we’ve also seen in the seven years that I have been here, the inability, until recently, to pass legislation that will have meaningful change,” said Rommel. “We know there there are other areas we need to address.”

Ahead of the upcoming 2023 Regular Session, there is an expectation that a series of bills will be filed seeking to further regulate the process of filing a lawsuit against insurers.

“It is our hope that legislators will continue their 2022 efforts and use the 2023 Session to enact reasonable, meaningful, and practical constraints to bring relief to every Floridian,” concluded Bob McClure, President of the James Madison Institute.


  1. John

    One doesn’t have to look any further than Mara lago to find the biggest abuser of our legal system.

    • Robert

      Yeah, I love Donald Trump, too –

      Your post reminds me of a recent cartoon I viewed in which a driver who was pulled over for speeding, then yells at the police officer, “Well, what about Donald Trump?”

      I allege the GREATEST abuse of our legal system (because the legal system allowed it) was the McCarthy Hearings conducted in the mid 50’s. It did more than just round-up ‘suspected’ communists. He corralled political enemies and did his best to damn them for their “crimes.” Any individual who publicly acknowledged even a distant connection to a communist (say, a cousin’s friend’s girlfriend that you met at a party once) could be tried. Oftentimes, they were lambasted, black listed, and ostracized, with severe personal and professional repercussions that in many cases, followed and ruined them for the remainder of their lives. Where were our attorney and judge “knights in shining armor” then ?

      Oh, and McCarthy was a Democrat –

      • Robert

        Correction: McCarthy was a Republican, not a Democrat at the time of the red Scare Senate hearings. He has been elected Senator from Wisconsin in 1946, after switching his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican.

  2. Robert

    You might start with Attorney fee multipliers. These additional ‘shakedown fees’ are above and beyond the 33.3% of the total settlement if a case settles out-of-court and 40% of the total settlement if a case goes to trial that Attorneys already get. Their reasons for these additional fees are absolutely ludicrous – it’s pure GREED, and nothing more, making it increasingly common for an attorney to receive fees that exceed the plaintiff’s entire judgment many times over, and underscores the need for a full re-examination of fee multiplier jurisprudence. Don’t believe anything they tell you about ‘why’ multiplier fees are necessary – it’s simply a lie ! As the article states (or implies), “we continue to see insurance companies leave, we continue to see the inability of Florida to attract new insurance companies (or retain the established ones). And I’m sure it’s true for other businesses as well, and will continue until this “greed” is properly checked. Almost as infuriating is the need to reform (or better eliminate) attorney advertising. As it currently stands, a dozen or so “billboard attorneys” will continue raking it in off the backs of premium payers, as in “So and So got me six hundred gazillion dollars for my injuries!” I can’t help but believe this just spurs additional frivolous lawsuits in the hopes that some ‘lucky’ client will win the lawsuit lottery. ANYONE wanting a lawyer can go to their computer and just GOOGLE “Attorneys” and they’ll be overwhelmingly deluged by these shysters faster than law schools can spit out the next class. We got rid of advertisements for cancer sticks, didn’t we ?

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