On Wednesday Feb. 15th, the Florida House released its long awaited Tort Reform package – HB 837 “Civil Remedies” by Representatives Gregory and Fabricio.
This is the same package referenced by the Governor, Senate President, and House Speaker in a press conference the previous day. If passed as filed, the reforms included in this bill would go far to reduce the litigation tax baked into every product and service purchased by the people of this state. We are hopeful the Senate will follow suit, but key provisions in the House bill include:
- Full repeal of the insurance one-way attorney fee statutes for all lines (including surplus lines)
- Insurance Bad-faith reform applicable to statutory & common law cause of action (safe harbor, heightened standard, duty of good faith for claimant, and interpleader)
- Federal standard for attorney contingency fee multipliers
- Truth in Past/Future Medical Damages (admissibility of evidence to prove cost of medical damages, letter of protection disclosures, specifying what damages may be recovered)
- Transparency when a lawyer refers a client to a health care provider
- Comparative negligence actions (any party found to be greater than 50% at fault for his or her own harm may not recover any damages.)
The predictability brought by these reforms should serve to drive capital investment that lifts all Floridians, and it will be interesting to see if other states will follow Governor DeSantis and Florida legislative leadership on these pocketbook issues.
– George Feijoo, Partner, CPCU