Tom Gaitens has been tapped to serve as the new executive director of Florida Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (FLCALA).
The organization announced Wednesday that the Tampa Bay businessman would serve as the new state executive director, where he will lead efforts to raise public awareness about the need for lawsuit reform amidst the backdrop of the pandemic.
“Florida’s economy is on the upswing after a very tough year, but we have to get the frivolous lawsuits under control,” said Gaitens. “Many small businesses and our medical personnel face courtroom extortion, and what many consumers don’t realize is that those added court costs are artificially driving up the prices of every product we buy. Furthermore, the amount of money being taken out of the economy to pay for lawsuits is causing Florida to lose important new jobs for the next generation of workers.”
CALA is a nonpartisan grassroots movement aimed at safeguarding citizens and businesses from frivolous lawsuits while making the court system fairer. Gaitens and his Florida members will be tasked with serving as the state’s watchdog to challenge abuse in the civil justice system while educating the public on the dangers lurking inside Florida’s legal climate.
The University of South Florida grad brings a wealth of knowledge to his new post. Apart from co-owning McDaniel Trading, a Sarasota commodities trading entity that specializes in feed for the dairy industry, the longtime businessman has carved out a career inside the political arena. Gaitens served as the State Director of FreedomWorks.org from its inception until 2011 and founded two Grassroots/Campaign/Advocacy Businesses -The Lincoln Group and Liberty Tree Consulting. He has also served on various Boards, including the Florida Taxpayers Union, James Madison Institute-Tampa Regional, The Boys and Girls Club of Riverview, and ALS Charter School, and is a GOP State Committeeman for Hillsborough Country.
Transitioning back into public policy, Gaitens and FLACALA will look to strike while the iron is hot, with Florida lawmakers weighing several proposals this Legislative Session aimed at protecting businesses, consumers, and frontline healthcare workers from COVID-19 lawsuits. COVID-19 liability protections have been front and center this session, serving as a top priority on Governor Ron DeSantis‘s agenda. On the docket, state officials are debating several bills (HB 7/SB 72) that seek to champion Florida’s economic recovery.
“The legislature is currently working on a bill to give our small businesses, public safety personnel, and medical personnel the protections that they need from frivolous lawsuits associated with COVID-19,” Gaitens said. “We need to pass that legislation and then keep the conversation going for more reforms.”
Gaitens noted that while the Sunshine State has made progress in the area of lawsuit reform, with the state avoiding the dreaded “Judicial Hellhole” title for the second year in the row, it has a long way to go before the economy is fully shielded from bad actors.
“Multiple national studies have concluded that Florida’s wild west legal environment has hurt our state’s appeal to manufacturers and to secure corporate re-locations. Clean, high-wage jobs are being lost to other states. We need to reverse that trend and keep Florida’s economy moving forward,” he added.