- State leaders plan to pass and implement litigation and tort reform proposals, aiming to reduce frivolous litigation and subsequently address the state’s high cost of insurance coverage.
- Florida is responsible for eight percent of all property insurance claims nationally, but 80 percent of property insurance litigation.
- A U.S. Chamber study shows that Florida produces the most “nuclear” verdicts in America, amounting to $35 billion.
- Florida residents pay $812.52 per person in a “tort tax” annually, which wipes out billions of dollars of economic activity.
State leaders including Gov. Ron DeSantis, House Speaker Paul Renner, and Senate President Kathleen Passidomo announced on Tuesday that they will work in their respective chambers to pass and implement litigation and tort reform legislation.
DeSantis, who pledged immediate support, cited a statistic showing that Florida accounted for eight percent of all property insurance claims nationally, but 80 percent of property insurance litigation.
“They’re working on a series of reforms to make our [legal] system better,” said the governor. “We want people to have their day in court if they’re harmed, but we don’t want cases that are brought where we know there’s no real liability but nevertheless adds costs to the system.”
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.
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.
According to information provided by Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, 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.
Meanwhile, in 2021, there were 100,595 lawsuits in Florida resulting in $7.8 billion in damages, while there were 24,700 lawsuits nationally that yielded $2.4 billion in damages across the same timeframe.
“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,” this year’s Judicial Hellhole 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.”