Gov. DeSantis talks new lawsuit reform efforts in Jacksonville

DeSantis asking lawmakers to update the legal system

FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a news conference on Jan. 26, 2023, in Miami. David McIntosh, the president ofthe influential Club For Growth group, said Tuesday, Feb. 7, that the group has invited a half dozen potential Republican candidates for the White House to its donor summit in Florida next month including DeSantis. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File) (Marta Lavandier, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called for new proposals to reform lawsuits in a news conference Tuesday in Jacksonville.

DeSantis spoke from Kenworth of Jacksonville, Inc, a truck dealership, and is joined by Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and House Speaker Paul Renner.

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DeSantis says he wants to update the legal system to be more in line with the rest of the country, saying people see Florida as a “judicial hellhole.”

“And so they’re working on a series of reforms to be able to make our system better. Again, we want people to be able to have their day in court if they’re harmed. Well, we don’t want cases that are brought where we know that there’s no real liability, but nevertheless it adds cost to the system,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis and Passidomo, R-Naples, pointed to litigation changes made during a special session on property insurance last year as an example of the kind of changes he wants to bring, like doing away with one-way attorney fees when suing property insurance companies.

“We believe that hopefully within a year or so your property insurance rates will go down,” Passidomo said. “And if they don’t there will be Hell to pay and I have said that to the insurance industry and to the trial lawyers. So what are we doing now? We’re just going to take what we did in December.”

“So this is really about bringing things into balance,” Renner, R-Palm Coast, said. “As the governor said, we want people with legitimate claims to be able to bring those claims and you should never have a situation where a client gets 200 bucks and the lawyer gets 100,000 bucks. That’s about the lawyers. It’s not about the people. And so that’s what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna bring things back into balance.”

Passidomo said the Florida Bar needed to do more to regulate these kinds of lawyers.

“If the Florida Bar doesn’t do it, we’re going to have to so, I promise you that we are going to work through these issues. And we’re going to come up with some legislation to protect you, to protect your businesses, and to protect the people that actually have cases,” Passidomo said.

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Christie joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021.