Florida Governor, Legislative Leaders Push for Reforms Against Frivolous Lawsuits


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and legislative leaders want reforms to take on frivolous lawsuits and put a stop to what the governor calls "predatory" practices by trial lawyers.

DeSantis held a news conference in Jacksonville on Feb. 14 with House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, and Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, about the proposals, which would eliminate one-way attorney fees and fee multipliers for all lines of insurance, modernize Florida’s "bad faith" law, and put caps on damage claims to protect small businesses.

"There are things in the law that are trying to create opportunities to bring cases," DeSantis said. "One of the reasons our auto insurance rates are higher here is because there’s a lot of cost of litigation embedded in these auto insurance premiums."

DeSantis noted the stark difference between what the client receives, and what their lawyer receives.

"So, there was one case where the client was awarded $216.67, and the lawyer got over $100,000 in fees," DeSantis said. "There was one case with $2,114.55 awarded to the client and the attorney was able to recover almost eight times the amount that the client did."

Renner supported the changes and said the new proposals will level the playing field for legitimate claimants.

"This is really about bringing things into balance," Renner said. "We want people with legitimate claims to bring those claims, but you should never have a situation where a client gets 200 bucks, and the lawyer gets a hundred thousand bucks."

Passidomo spoke about rising property insurance costs and the legislation passed in December’s special session to combat it. She said a large part of the reason why costs are becoming unmanageable is the cost of litigation and lawyers using the system for their own gain.

Passidomo noted most lawyers in Florida perform their jobs well, but a small number chase fees through suing insurance companies. She also pointed out those types of lawyers do not mention their clients’ needs once, nor do they properly represent them.

"We have to stop that practice," Passidomo said. "The Florida Bar regulates them and has done nothing to stop the practices that they have employed. If the Florida Bar doesn’t do it, then we’ll have to."

Passidomo further said the changes put in place will be to protect Floridians and their interests.

"We are going to work through these issues and we’re going to come up with some legislation to protect you, to protect your businesses and to protect those people that actually have cases…from the lawyers that are just doing it to raise fees," Passidomo said.

We thank The Center Square for reprint permission.

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