It’s fair to assume that when it comes to abuse of our judicial system, most people don’t consider it to impact their daily lives and that unless you’re a lawyer or a judge, you don’t really have to worry about it. I’m here to tell those people that they are wrong.
Too many lawsuits hurt everyone, and ridiculous or frivolous lawsuits filed against local businesses make it tougher for those same small businesses to create jobs. Just the threat of a lawsuit freezes assets, destroys creativity, and halts momentum for a small business. For those who are not in business, I don’t think that they can imagine the worry and distraction that a lawsuit can cause. Trial lawyers know this, and they exploit the emotional frame of mind to try to generate a quick settlement. That equates to courtroom bullying that is neither fair nor honorable. A report from just last year showed that the cost of excessive lawsuits has killed over 160,000 jobs from hardworking Floridians. Some small businesses after enduring the grind of a legal battle simply have to close their doors.
In addition to killing jobs and small business productivity, too many lawsuits also contribute to increased prices for goods and services, up to $719.01 on every person per year. Again, just the threat of a lawsuit will cause small businesses to keep more money in reserve for legal costs or increase the prices of their goods or services. In addition, the insurance they are purchasing will be more expensive, and those premium costs get passed along to the consumers.
We are standing on the cusp of economic recovery, and I don’t think that anyone would advocate for limiting someone’s access to legal action if there is a truly a situation that demands it. However, we need to think about how much economic prosperity we could unleash if the legislature will pursue some basic reforms.
I am glad to see the legislature begin to discuss the idea of COVID liability relief for businesses. The last thing that we need as our economy begins to recover is a rash of new lawsuits over that issue. With a COVID vaccine now hitting the shelves to help individuals, let’s help Florida’s economy recover faster with a liability vaccine for small businesses and make 2021 our best year yet.
Jonathan Andrews is the Chairman of Florida First Forever