Kerry Goff Aug. 15, 2016, 7:52pm


TALLAHASSEE – In a recent survey taken by Harris poll for the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, Florida is ranked as one of the 10 worst legal climates in the country, ranking 44th out of all 50 states. The Florida Justice Reform Institute (FJRI) is one organization dedicated to making it harder for trial lawyers to target businesses for lawsuits.

“Florida’s businesses pay the price for Florida’s abusive litigation environment, but there’s a way to make a difference that delivers real results to the bottom line,” FJRI said.

FJRI explained that it aims to put its resources to work to protect businesses with strong lobbying and visible public relations campaigns, credible testimony from legal experts who can counter trial bar sensationalism, well-written research that lawmakers find clear, compelling and useful and legal support.

“Using all these tools and more, FJRI brings the fight to the trial lawyers on critical issues such as fair settlement, assignment of benefits, phantom damages, legal and medical fee schedules, workers’ compensation costs, and the operation of state courts,” the FJRI said.

FJRI also explained that within the last decade, the number of lawsuits have increased considerably and it affects existing businesses and can deter other businesses from locating to Florida out of fear of litigation.

“The work is more critical than ever,” the organization said. “Florida’s business community must continue to support a coordinated, long-term offensive to improving Florida’s civil justice system, and FJRI is the way to do it.”

FJRI’s mission is to fight wasteful civil litigation through legislation and promote fair and equitable legal practices.

“To facilitate these goals, the Institute employs research and advocacy in support of meaningful tort reform legislation,” the organization’s mission statement said. “Florida's legal climate is becoming increasingly hostile to our state's economic well-being. Wealthy personal injury trial lawyers continue to file speculative claims under the guise of consumer advocacy. The result is a civil justice system inundated with lawsuits.”

FJRI argues that the effects of these kinds of litigations are far reaching, hurting both employers and employees alike, with higher costs for workers' compensation insurance, rising liability insurance premiums, and the constant fear of predatory multimillion dollar lawsuits.

FJRI was created by the Florida Chamber of Commerce in 2005. Its goal has always been to fight wasteful civil litigation through legislation. Since its inception, FJRI has helped pass pro-civil justice reform legislation and defeat legislation that disrupts the balance of Florida’s civil justice system. Such cases include workers compensation schemes and medical malpractice suits.

“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,” the organization’s website said.

In addition to its plethora of resources, FJRI’s President William W. Large brings considerable legal and political expertise to the organization and has worked in the highest levels of Florida government to bring about civil justice reform.

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