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Business Observer Friday, Sep. 25, 2015 7 years ago

Florida: The state that loves lawsuits

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Frivolous lawsuits are in growth mode in Florida.

Frivolous lawsuits are in growth mode in Florida.

That's the glum finding of a new survey from the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform. The institute reports that despite efforts in the state Legislature to improve the legal environment, the lawsuit climate in Florida is among the worst in the country, at 44 out of 50. That represents an all-time low. Survey respondents specifically cited Miami/Dade County as one of the eight least fair court jurisdictions nationwide.

“Lawsuit abuse in Florida has been a big problem for a decade. Credit to the Florida legislature — they have done some work,” says Florida Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Wilson in a statement. “The problem is, other states have done more. Here in Florida, our courts — our Supreme Court and other courts — continue to overturn and undue the good work that small business and the Florida legislature have done.”

Global polling firm Harris Poll conducted the 2015 Lawsuit Climate Survey from March through June. Respondents were more than 1,200 general counsels and senior attorneys or leaders in companies with annual revenues of at least $100 million.

The Florida Supreme Court, the institute states, has negated several key legal reforms in recent years. In 2014, it struck down safeguards against noneconomic damages awarded in medical malpractice cases. The court also widened plaintiffs' lawyers' ability to manufacture “bad faith” lawsuits against insurers who make a good faith attempt to pay a claim.

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