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New Law Will Transform Florida’s Tort System, Speaker Renner Says

Speaker Paul Renner and Florida House members advance a bill to bring balance back to the personal injury legal system.

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Today, Florida House Speaker Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast) joined Judiciary Committee Chair Tommy Gregory (R-Lakewood Ranch) and Representative Tom Fabricio (R-Miami Lakes) to celebrate the passage of House Bill 837 through the bill’s first committee stop. HB 837 will reform Florida’s lopsided legal environment and provide relief to Florida families and businesses.

“Everything from gas to groceries to auto and home insurance is more expensive because a few bad actors are taking advantage of Florida’s current tort laws,” said Speaker Renner. “Litigation mills create an excessive tort tax which inflates costs on everything. These costs are passed onto Florida’s hardworking families and businesses.”

Tort law is what protects and compensates people who have been injured by the negligence, recklessness, or intentional acts of wrongdoers. It is used as a legal basis to protect and compensate those injured by unsafe or defective products. Renner said the legal system in Florida needs to be balanced to allow good claims to move forward while holding those engaging in misconduct accountable.

“I’m glad to see our Members coming together to tackle what may be one of our state’s most transformational legal reforms,” said Chair Gregory. “Our current legal system creates a massive transfer of wealth from Floridians to attorneys and contributes to the affordability crisis Floridians are needlessly facing.

Gregory said the state has an opportunity to bring balance back to the tort system and stop bad actors from taking advantage of Florida families and businesses.

“It’s unacceptable for the free state of Florida to be considered a judicial hellhole,” said Rep. Fabricio. “The system should ensure that anyone who has suffered a loss be compensated quickly and fairly, but the hidden cost of lawsuit abuse is making life for Florida families and businesses more difficult.

HB 837 / Tort reform legislation will bring balance to Florida’s legal system by:

  • Significantly limiting fee multiplier incentives for lawyers to collect higher fees when they sue.
  • Eliminating the ability of attorneys to claim bad faith on part of insurance companies with vague and meritless claims.
  • Right-sizing verdicts by allowing a fairer assessment of fault in negligence cases.
  • Providing juries with more detail and transparency in their decision-making in medical cases.
  • Reducing frivolous lawsuits or threats of litigation by eliminating “one-way attorney fees” that incentivize fraudulent or inflated claims.
  • Streamlining the civil litigation process by reducing the statute of limitations from four years to two years.
  • Requiring a jury to consider the fault of an intentional wrongdoer in certain negligence cases.