Florida Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (FL CALA) announced on Wednesday that Tampa Bay businessman Tom Gaitens will be its new executive director.
Gaitens is a businessman and activist who promised to “bring a consistent voice of leadership in the effort to protect consumers and small businessmen from frivolous lawsuits.”
He weighed in on his new duties on Wednesday.
“Florida’s economy is on the upswing after a very tough year, but we have to get the frivolous lawsuits under control,” said Gaitens. “Many small businesses and our medical personnel face courtroom extortion, and what many consumers don’t realize is that those added court costs are artificially driving up the prices of every product we buy. Furthermore, the amount of money being taken out of the economy to pay for lawsuits is causing Florida to lose important new jobs for the next generation of workers.”
Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse has been working across Florida to raise awareness about the need for lawsuit reform. Up until last year, Florida had consistently been ranked as a Judicial Hellhole with frivolous lawsuits driving up the cost of healthcare and insurance for consumers and creating obstacles for small businesses. In the 2019 legislative session, assignment of benefits reforms were passed out of the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis, but the 2020 legislative session yielded no major reforms.
Gaitens vowed that under his leadership, CALA will be seeking to raise awareness on the need for additional reforms in areas of medicine, bad faith provisions, premises liability, workers compensation, and legal advertising. He also promised the group will be a watchdog representing an impressive statewide array of grassroots activists who are in support of lawsuit reform and will educate the public on the need for reform.
“The legislature is currently working on a bill to give our small businesses, public safety personnel, and medical personnel the protections that they need from frivolous lawsuits associated with COVID-19,” said Gaitens. “We need to pass that legislation and then keep the conversation going for more reforms.
“Multiple national studies have concluded that Florida’s wild west legal environment have hurt our state’s appeal to manufacturers and to secure corporate re-locations. Clean, high-wage jobs are being lost to other states. We need to reverse that trend and keep Florida’s economy moving forward,” he added.
Gaitens co-owns McDaniel Trading in Sarasota, a commodities trading entity that specializes in feed for the dairy industry. He is also a long-time activist, including serving as state director of FreedomWorks and helping found the tea party movement. He has served on various boards, including the Florida Taxpayers Union, James Madison Institute-Tampa Regional, The Boys and Girls Club of Riverview and ALS Charter School. Gaitens is also the GOP state committeeman for Hillsborough County.