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Legislative Achievements in Civil Justice Reform

The Florida Justice Reform Institute was created by the Florida Chamber of Commerce in 2005. Its mission is to fight wasteful civil litigation through legislation, promote fair and equitable legal practices and provide information about the state of civil justice in Florida. To facilitate these goals, the Institute employs research and advocacy in support of meaningful tort reform legislation.

Since its inception in 2005, the Florida Justice Reform Institute (FJRI) has helped pass pro-civil justice reform legislation and defeat legislation that disrupts the balance of our civil justice system. We are proud of our successes and invite you to join us in our mission of restoring accountability and predictability to Florida’s civil justice system through civil justice reform.


2013

Expert Evidence

During the 2013 session, capping a multi-year effort by FJRI, lawmakers replaced Florida’s 90-year-old expert evidence standard with the modern Daubert standard used in all federal courts and many states’ courts. Unlike the old standard that allowed the admission of pure opinion, under Daubert, judges act as “gatekeepers” and are responsible for ensuring that expert evidence presented in court is relevant, reliable, and based on sound science. This historic achievement will help put an end to the forum shopping that imports litigation into Florida.

Medical Liability Reform

FJRI successfully supported legislation that ensures a physician’s right to legal counsel, and requires expert witnesses to practice in the same specialty as the defendant.

2012

During the 2012 legislative session FJRI helped lead the charge to reform Florida’s broken Personal Injury Protection (PIP) system. 

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

This year, FJRI pushed successfully to end the practice of exponentially increasing litigation costs associated with Florida’s personal injury protection insurance by removing the use of attorney fee multipliers. These fee multipliers benefited attorneys at the expense of consumers and were costing insurers and Florida drivers millions of dollars.

2011

Crashworthiness

During the 2011 session, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 142, repealing the state's antiquated crashworthiness doctrine in cases brought against automobile manufacturers for vehicle malfunctions when there is an accident.  Previous rulings prevented Florida juries from apportioning fault in accidents, meaning they couldn't consider a driver's fault in the accident, even if he was drunk, texting and otherwise distracted while driving.  Under the new law, juries will be able to consider all of the facts, when determining fault in accidents where there was an alleged automobile design defect.

Medical Liability Reform

FJRI championed medical malpractice reforms during the 2011 legislative session.

Sinkhole Litigation Reform

During session, FJRI successfully incorporated provisions into the omnibus property insurance bill that shore up definitions of what would actually constitute a sinkhole claim and increases the burden on the plaintiff to actually prove their damages were, indeed, caused by a sinkhole.

2010

FJRI continued to help lead the business community's efforts to restore fairness and predictability to the state's civil justice system.  During the 2010 Legislation Session FJRI achieved several critical successes.  

Transparency in Private Attorney Contracting

FJRI was a strong advocate for legislation championed by the Attorney General that ensures there is transparency in private attorney contracts with the state.  The new law, caps the amount private attorneys can collect in fees, preventing money rightfully owed to the state from being diverted to over compensate private attorneys.