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Where is tort reform?

September 23, 2009

For a session that wasn’t supposed to be focused on “Tort Reform”, there was an alarming number of such Bills before the legislature this year.  Our battles in Tallahassee are far from over. We can all consider this past session a victory, thanks to the hard work of our brethren at the Florida Justice Association.  Click on this link to find a brief legislative update from the FJA’s website (, where additional information is available.

Looking back over the “Bad Bills” should give us all pause—Insurance Company Bad Faith Immunity?  Really? That was on the table? I’m being flippant, of course, but I can’t believe this didn’t cause more concern within our profession.

It’s also important to note that we were not just on the defensive in Tallahassee this year.  Our lobby supported many Bills that, had they passed, would have greatly benefited the citizens of Florida.

One of the hot-button issues this past session was the legislative rejection of the Florida Supreme Court’s opinion in Murray v. Mariners Health/ACE USA., which reinstated hourly attorney fees payable by the Employer/Carrier.  House Bill 903, which negates the Murray Court’s ruling and reinstates the 2003 caps on attorney fees, passed after a battle between House and Senate leadership during the final days of the session, despite the coordinated efforts of the FJA and the Florida Worker’s Advocates.

The FJA effort to urge Governor Crist to veto that Bill is underway.  If you’d like to get involved, contact Jacqui Sisto at [email protected] for more information.

Our fight is never over.  It is incumbent upon us to protect our clients, the independence of our Judiciary and our practices.  The Board of Directors of the Broward County Justice Association has recently created a “Legislative Committee” dedicated to coordinating our local efforts with the FJA.

Next session, the BCJA will be represented in Tallahassee.