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Business Groups vs the Trial Lobby

After COVID, business groups around the state wanted Florida lawmakers to help shield them from lawsuits brought on by lawyers.

Last year, a flurry of bills dealing with tort reform and caps on damages flew through the Florida Legislature and were signed into law by Gov. DeSantis.

Once again, business groups are colliding with the Trial Attorney lobby over proposed legislation this year dealing with civil liability for asbestos manufacturers, assisted living facilities (ALF) and pesticide distributors.

The main one this year centers around Assisted Living Facilities (ALF). Trial attorneys say the proposed bills by state Republicans will cause potential harm for Florida consumers.

Members of the trial bar spoke to Florida Daily about the legislation moving forward.

Their concerns on bills dealing with ALF facilities where it would allow them to get away when patients were harmed, making it difficult for plaintiffs to collect punitive damages.

“If these bills pass, it will let ALF groups escape responsibility for harming patients,” an individual from the Florida Justice Association (FJA) told Florida Daily.

The FJA and other members of the trial lobby say once again they are being unfairly targeted by GOP lawmakers.

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State Rep. Ryan Chamberlin says the laws to protect ALF facilities are necessary because lawsuits are driving up the cost for consumers. “This is a crisis,” said Rep Chamberlin.

Chamberlin and other GOP lawmakers want to limit the number of lawsuits they say never go to trial but are instead settled out of court, costing ALF groups millions of dollars.

Over the year, state GOP officials have said if there were fewer lawsuits and legislation to put limits on the that are awarded to plaintiffs, insurance premiums would decline.

But the FJA and another trial discount claim that insurance companies haven’t lowered costs despite tort reform legislation being passed.

The bill to protect the ALF industry is backed by the Associated Industries of Florida and the Florida Chamber of Commerce.


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