Editor, Daily News:
Less than two weeks remain in the 2008 Florida legislative session and it appears that common-sense legal reform will not be addressed. Unfortunately, Florida’s budget crisis has commanded the attention of our legislators, and important legal reforms like “expert witnesses” and “emergency health-care providers” will probably not be heard this session.
Clearly, our legislators are working in a difficult climate as they grapple with a budget shortfall and try to give Floridians a boost during this economic slump. Unfortunately, they have failed to provide any relief on one economic burden that Floridians will continue to carry: the $880 “lawsuit tax” we each pay because of lawsuit abuse. Florida is home to the top-ranked “judicial hellhole” in the country, according to the American Tort Reform Association, and is ranked dead last in the nation for legal fairness by the Pacific Research Institute.
Lawsuit abuse is hurting our state every day. Small businesses are constrained by frivolous lawsuits. Floridians hesitate to take on the liability risks of coaching Little League. Our courts are flooded with over 1,200 lawsuit filings each day. The medical-malpractice environment has created a doctor shortage. All this because of greedy personal-injury lawyers and their aggressive advertising tactics.
Lawsuit abuse hurts our economy, damages our communities, threatens our health care and undermines our civil-justice system. Without meaningful reforms, we will continue to pay the price. I hope that our legislators will get it right and pass the common-sense legal reforms we need in 2009.
Carlos Muhletaler, Boca Raton, Executive director, Florida Stop Lawsuit Abuse