Carlos Muhletaler hits the nail on the proverbial head. Muhletaler, executive director of Boca Raton based Florida Stop Lawsuit Abuse, told Boca Raton News: “Floridians wonder why we pay higher prices for products and service, why we have a shortage of physicians, why companies are very hesitant to come into the state and why small business is reluctant to re-invest and grow? It’s because lawsuit abuse is hurting Florida’s overall economy,” says Muhletaler.
According to the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA), for the last several years Florida has labored under the embarrassing distinction of being the nation’s worst “judicial hellhole.” ATRA defines judicial hellholes as “places where judges systematically apply laws and court procedures in an unfair and unbalanced manner, generally against defendants in civil lawsuits,” South Florida received the dubious distinction because a “collective reputation for high awards and plaintiff-friendly rulings make Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties a launching pad for class action, dubious claims and novel legal theories of recovery,” says ATRA.
But hold on – there’s more on the rancid judicial radar. In addition to being a judicial hellhole, a completely separate group last week ranked Florida the number one state in the nation in terms of “tort costs and litigation risks.” The Pacific Research Institute has ranked Florida’s entire legal system as the being the worst in the nation because of lawsuit abuse.
When our state receives such rankings or titles, it is evident that there is something wrong with the system.” says Muhletaler, adding: Florida’s elected officials should be applauded for the historic repeal of joint and several liability and other common sense lawsuit reforms of the past, but should take notice that there is much more to be done to improve our state’s legal environment.”
The following clearly summarizes the issue:
- Parents sue balloon manufacturer because balloons break and frightens child.
- Parents sue school district because child is not permitted to go on school trip as punishment for being disrespectful.
- Man sues soft drink manufacturer because he cut his lip trying to remove a bottle cap with his teeth.
- Man sues airline because a pilot saved his life and the plane didn’t crash; the man had, as a result of the possibility of an accident, “a permanently and irreparably damaged psyche,” according to his lawyer.
- Between 1960 and 1990 the single largest profession produced in Japan was engineers.
- Between 1960 and 1990 the single largest profession produced in the United States was lawyers.
All this suggests there is no small relationship between our litigation frenzy, and our ability to sustain a vibrant Florida economy, while also remaining competitive in the world market.
To quote the English jurist Lord Moulton: “The measure of a civilization is the degree of its obedience to the unenforceable.”
And if you agree with Lord Moulton, the sobering reality is that this nation is rapidly becoming a band of savages, roaming the courtrooms of America in search of legal firewood with which to burn the bonds of honor, integrity and mutual respect, the very fibers of which a free nation, intending to remain so, depends.
Florida Stop Lawsuit Abuse