I realize that our legislators have been working in an uncomfortable climate as they allocate a very limited budget and try to give Floridians a helping hand during this economic slump. Unfortunately, the one thing Floridians can count on is that the “lawsuit tax” — the $880 each Floridian pays because of lawsuit abuse — remains intact. In the past year, Florida has twice been ranked the worst legal system in the country. South Florida was named the No. 1 “Judicial Hellhole” by The American Tort Reform Association, and the entire state was given the dubious distinction of being worst in the nation for legal fairness by the Pacific Research Institute.
It is not hard to see how lawsuit abuse is hurting our state every day. For example, Floridians do not want to be part of a homeowners association or a Little League committee due to liability risks. Small businesses hesitate to expand for fear of unexpected costs associated with frivolous lawsuits. Our courts are flooded with more than 1,200 lawsuit filings per day. Doctors are leaving the state or retiring early due to the medical malpractice environment — all because of a group of personal injury lawyers that have created a lawsuit-happy mentality through their aggressive marketing tactics.
We as Floridians must say no to lawsuit abuse. Lawsuit abuse hurts our economy, damages our communities, threatens our health care and undermines our civil justice system.
The legal problems facing our state demand attention from our legislators. Without meaningful reforms, we will continue to pay the price. I hope that by 2009, our legislators will get it right and pass the common-sense legal reforms we need.
Executive Director Florida Stop Lawsuit Abuse Boca Raton