A statehouse rally on March 15 in Tallahassee, Fla. demonstrated the coordinated effort to end lawsuit abuse in Florida during the 2005 legislative session, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.
To show his support, Gov. Jeb Bush endorsed broad tort reform during a rally sponsored by the Florida Civil Justice Institute and the Florida Coalition for Legal Reform at the Florida Capitol. This year a wide variety of tort reform proposals have been introduced. Together, this comprehensive effort would address issues such as joint and several liability, class action litigation, asbestos and silica litigation, attorney fees, insurance bad faith, and premises liability.
“Florida lawmakers have become increasingly aware of the need for changes in the civil justice system,” William Stander, regional manager for PCI said. “A recent study ranking state liability systems across the country trumpeted the need for comprehensive reforms in Florida. The study showed that Florida ranked 42nd in legal fairness.
“The situation will continue to worsen unless we enact sweeping changes that restore fairness and balance to the system. PCI is committed to working with lawmakers and business coalitions to obtain a more balanced and cost effective tort system. We are strong supporters of the drive to bring about meaningful tort reform and support the principles contained in all of the various bills currently before the legislature.”
In states where civil justice reforms have been enacted, costs have been controlled which helps to improve the business climate and local economies.
“The reforms supported by PCI do not restrict individual’s access to the courts, however they do provide balance by controlling the lottery-like characteristic of those aspects of the civil justice system that are not tied to directly identifiable economic costs,” Stander said. “They restore the overall predictability that is crucial to creating a stable insurance marketplace, which in turn is necessary for a healthy business economy.”
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