Photo courtesy of the Executive Office of Governor Ron DeSantis.
Tallahassee, Florida – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill (HB) 837, Civil Remedies, to reduce frivolous lawsuits and prevent the predatory practices of trial attorneys who prey on hardworking Floridians. This bill amends the bad faith framework, eliminating attorneys’ fees and fee multiples, and ensuring that Floridians will not be liable for damages if the person suing is more at fault. In addition, this bill expands immunity for landlords who defend against a criminal injured on their property while providing uniform standards for juries in calculating medical damages and lowering the statute of limitations for cases of general negligence from four years to two. the The governor proposed this legislation in February before the start of the 2023 legislative session.
“Florida has been considered judicial hell for far too long, and we desperately need legal reform that will bring us more in line with the rest of the country,” he said. Governor Ron DeSantis. “I am proud to sign this legislation to protect Floridians, protect our economy, and attract more investment in our state.”
“When a terrible accident or incident occurs and people suffer a loss, they must be compensated quickly and fairly,” he said. Senate President Kathleen Basidomo. “The vast majority of attorneys are working hard to provide proper legal representation for Florida residents in these difficult circumstances. Unfortunately, there are a few bad actors out there who are out to stretch civil cases as long as possible, collecting more and more fees from insurance companies. Litigation leads to Raise basic costs of goods and services for everyone in all areas of industry and commerce.Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, we’ve taken many steps to help keep Florida more accessible to growing families and seniors.This legislation strengthens those efforts to strike the right balance and protect the rights of Floridians experiencing loss , while at the same time protecting everyone from the hidden costs of lengthy litigation.
“Thank you, Governor DeSantis, for signing transformative legislation to end lawsuit abuse,” he said. Speaker of the House Paul Renner. “This legislation prevents frivolous lawsuits and allows good claims to move forward. These reforms make our economy more competitive and make Florida more accessible to our citizens and businesses. Thank you, House Speakers Tommy Gregory and Tom Fabricio, for your leadership on this bill.
“Florida families have long borne the hidden cost of litigation abuse, as the litigation environment in Florida has cost jobs and driven up the cost of goods and services,” he said. Senator Travis Hutson. “This legislation contains the most effective and powerful reforms in decades, making many changes to Florida’s onerous civil system that will provide transparency to jurors, shorten the time people toil in civil court, and eliminate unfair practices abused by bad actors.” This bill protects the rights of Floridians experiencing loss, while providing solutions to reduce frivolous lawsuits and prevent predatory practices that prey on hardworking Floridians.
“The reforms that Governor DeSantis signed into law return Florida’s tort system to basic American judicial principles that the people most responsible pay for the damages they have caused and trust juries to decide cases fairly,” he said. Representative Tommy Gregory.
“This legislation balances the system and protects Florida residents’ legal rights to access the courts while reducing the number of frivolous lawsuits,” he said. Representative Tom Fabricio. “Thank you, Governor DeSantis, for your support on this fine bill.”
This bill amends the bad faith framework to clarify that negligence alone is not indicative of bad faith and to require the plaintiff to act in good faith in providing information and attempting to settle an insurance claim. In addition, the bill allows an insurance company to limit its bad faith liability when there are several claimants in a single proceeding by paying the total amount of the policy before negotiations for settlement begin.
In addition, this legislation makes changes to Florida’s comparative negligence system so that a plaintiff who is more liable for his injuries than the defendant may not generally obtain damages from the defendant. Furthermore, the bill expands immunity for landlords who are defending themselves from a lawsuit against a criminal actor who was injured on property and requires a judge or jury to find fault with all people who contributed to the damage.
The bill also adopts the federal standard for eliminating attorney fee multiples and states that the attorney fee requirement can only be applied in limited cases. In doing so, the bill discourages frivolous lawsuits and lengthy litigation to increase the profit margins of activist lawyers who abuse the system.
This new legislation also provides uniform criteria to assist jurors in calculating the exact value of medical damages in cases of wrongful death or personal injury. The bill also reduces the statute of limitations in public negligence cases from 4 years to 2 years.