Six Florida legislators recognized for lawsuit reform efforts

by | Jan 25, 2024

The Florida Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse honored six state legislators for their contributions to lawsuit reform, highlighting recent legislative victories in reducing lawsuit abuse and ongoing legal system improvements in Florida.

Florida Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (FLCALA) honored six state legislators at a press conference held at the Florida State Capitol on Thursday.

The organization recognized Sens. Travis Hutson and Clay Yarborough, along with Reps. Bob Rommel, Tommy Gregory, Tom Fabricio, and Toby Overdorf, for their contributions to lawsuit reform in Florida. These legislators were commended for their roles in both recent and past legislative efforts aimed at reshaping the state’s legal environment.

Tom Gaitens, FLCALA’s Executive Director, highlighted the importance of the lawmakers’ work in reducing lawsuit abuse in Florida. He cited the reform on the assignment of benefits in 2022 as a legislative victory and underscored the ongoing need for legal system improvements.

“Florida has made great improvement in recent years, thanks to the tireless work of these legislative champions,” Gaitens said. “The reform on assignment of benefits in 2022 was a huge victory for our movement, but it doesn’t stop there. We are always trying to make the system work for the people, not for slick lawyers or special interests with deep pockets.”

During the event, Gaitens presented an overview of key legislation scheduled for 2024, including Senate Bill 248 on medical negligence and House Bill 1179 regarding litigation financing, alongside House Bill 1367 on asbestos and silica claims and House Bill 995 involving civil actions in assisted living facilities.

“Florida has the best Legislature in the country,” Gaitens continued, commending the six legislators for their leadership in promoting legal reforms.

Last month, the American Tort Reform Foundation removed Florida from its ‘Judicial Hellhole‘ list, a long-held designation reflecting the state’s history of excessive litigation and frivolous lawsuits.

The change is largely attributed to the passage of House Bill 837, which focused on transparency in damage claims in court trials. Sponsored by Gregory, Fabricio, and Hutson, the bill addresses the discrepancy between claimed and actual medical expenses in court cases.

The measure also included changes to the comparative negligence system, limiting recovery of damages for plaintiffs more than 50 percent at fault for their injuries, ostensibly overhauling ‘bad faith’ insurance litigation, and adjusting attorney fee provisions.

Another recognized piece of legislation is Senate Bill 360, which shortened the period for filing construction defect claims from ten to seven years, aligning Florida with the majority of other states and serving as part of the state’s effort to provide clearer guidelines and predictability in the construction industry.

The state also enacted legislation aimed at regulating what was referred to as deceptive practices in legal services ads. Lawyers spent an estimated $271.8 million on TV, outdoor, radio, digital, and print ads for local legal services or soliciting legal claims in Florida and accounted for nearly 12 percent of all legal services advertising spending across the United States last year.


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