On Wednesday, leaders of the business community showcased a study showing how tort reform could help Florida’s economy.
Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA), which is supported by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Floridians for Government Accountability, highlighted “Economic Benefits of Tort Reform,” a report which was trumpeted as a “rigorous economic study calculating the costs of Florida’s current civil laws in comparison to benchmarks in other states.” CALA and its supporters noted that Florida is consistently ranked at the bottom when the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform compares the states’ legal climates.
The study shows torts currently cost Florida $10.0 billion in annual direct costs, $15.5 billion in annual output (gross product), around 167,750 jobs, $811.1 million in annual state revenues and $679.4 million in annual local government revenues and claimed excess torts result in a “tort tax” of $719.01 per person.
“This study underscores the urgent need for lawsuit reform in Florida,” said Bill Herrle, the NFIB’s state executive director for Florida. “Small businesses are especially vulnerable to legal attacks. The cost of defending against a single baseless lawsuit can be enough to put a small business out of business—even if the case ultimately is thrown out of court. The small business community is eager to work with Governor DeSantis and legislative leaders to curb lawsuit lending, pass accuracy-in-damages reform, and stop lawsuits brought in ‘bad faith’ with the intent to cancel policy limits.”
“The Hispanic community understands that the system in Florida leads to economic disadvantages,” said Julio Fuentes, the president of the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “Our membership are business owners and job creators, and we need a series of reforms to survive in Florida.”
“Tort reform remains among our top issues,” said Jim Maxwell, the vice president of Floridians for Government Accountability. “We are looking at the other benchmark states in the study, such as Ohio and Texas, which have adopted strong tort reform measures and are now enjoying positive economic impact. We encourage our policymakers to emulate good reforms in other states.”
State Sen. Doug Broxson, R-Pensacola, the chairman of the state Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, and state Rep. Bob Rommel, R-Naples, the chairman of the House Civil Justice Subcommittee, appeared at the media event on Wednesday as CALA and its supporters showcased the report and its findings.