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Florida CFO Gallagher, State and National Leaders Urge Legislature to Pass Landmark Legal Reform Bills

4/27/2005

Florida Justice Reform Institute
American Tort Reform Association
 
Miami – Florida, once among the most business-friendly states in the nation, has become a mecca for lawsuit abuse, which costs every state resident more and more money and increasingly threatens the state's prosperity, according to prominent Florida officials and state and national business leaders urging passage of historic legal reform legislation at a Miami news conference.
This year, the pendulum appears ready to shift:  The cumulative abuse of the state's civil justice system has galvanized never-before-seen momentum behind a series of critically needed legislative reforms.  As the 2005 Florida Legislature enters its final two weeks, several bills appear poised for passage. 
 "It's time for Florida to pass these reforms that will help the state's economy and shut down South Florida's ‘Judicial Hellhole®,'" said Sherman Joyce, President of the American Tort Reform Association.  "The personal injury bar has placed an unfair burden on Florida taxpayers by filing cases in the ‘Hellhole' that have no connection with the jurisdiction." 
"Florida's tort system is leading us toward an unfriendly business environment that could wreak havoc with our economy," said Tom Gallagher, Chief Financial Officer for the State of Florida.  "The time to initiate meaningful lawsuit reform is now."
Not long ago, Florida ranked among the most attractive places in the United States do businesses.  But now, lawsuit abuse darkens the Sunshine State's business climate in a variety of ways: 
• South Florida is America's 7th worst "Judicial Hellhole®," according to the American Tort Reform Association.
• Florida's legal fairness ranks 42nd in the nation, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform.
• Florida jobs and the state's ability to compete with other southern states are challenged by Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina, each of which has recently passed major legal reforms. 
• Every Floridian pays an annual "tort tax" of $845, as derived from the 2004 U.S. Tort Cost Report by Towers Perrin Tillinghast.
The profound need for change has united Florida's business and medical communities to speak in one voice to fight for Florida's prosperity and quality of life.  Additionally, the partnership of the American Tort Reform Association and the Florida Justice Reform Institute symbolizes the critical mass of state and national support united behind reform.       
 
The Florida Justice Reform Institute is a diverse coalition of state associations and groups dedicated to restoring fairness, equality, predictability and personal responsibility to Florida's civil justice system.  www.fljustice.org
 
The American Tort Reform Association is a broad-based national organization dedicated exclusively to tort and liability reform through public education and the enactment of legislation.  www.atra.org