Florida Record

Monday, September 23, 2019

Poll says Floridians dubious about trial lawyers

By Michelle de Leon | Oct 20, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – The latest poll conducted by the Florida Chamber Political Institute revealed that Floridians do not see trial lawyers in a favorable light.

The recent statewide poll showed that 35 percent of Floridians dislike trial lawyers. The survey, which was released in October, was performed from Sept. 15 to Sept. 20. Among the people who participated in the poll, only 14 percent offered a favorable outlook when it comes to trial lawyers. Meanwhile, 24 percent shared that they “have never heard” of the trial attorneys. The Florida Chamber Political Institute’s poll claimed a 4 percentage point margin of error.

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While this poll result showed a slight improvement in the earlier one released in August, the reputation of plaintiff trial lawyers remains in a negative light among the members of the public. The August edition of the Florida Chamber Political Institute poll showed that 34 percent of the respondents disliked trial lawyers. Among those who participated, 15 percent gave a positive reaction to trial lawyers. Meanwhile, 27 percent admitted to not have any idea of trial lawyers and their roles in the community.

Despite the results of the polls, it appears that trial lawyers see nothing alarming with the situation. Jeff Porter, who is part of the Florida Justice Association, shared via WFSU in August that the outcome of this undertaking by the Florida Chamber Political Institute only serve to benefit the business sector. According to him, the results are just the attempts of business owners to cast their influence on lawmakers.

Porter further noted that the business sector aims to initiate reform in workers' compensation conditions. He said that the vendetta against trial lawyers possibly started when the Florida Supreme Court rejected a limit on the amount of attorneys' fees to be imposed on cases.

In addition, Porter pointed out that this unfavorable outcome for trial lawyers was not the first. He shared that they have been subjected to this kind of treatment in the past. Porter said there had been a scheme by the business sector to spread a “manufactured crisis” to push for the compensation reforms it has been fighting for in the state.

“We’ve seen this type of thing before. This is the beginning of a manufactured crisis of workers' comp. What you don’t see the chamber talking about with all of this is real insurance reform,” said Porter via WFSU.

Moreover, Porter stated that the perspective of those who participated in the poll would change once the need arises. That is, he pointed out that people change their minds when they get involved in a situation requiring the assistance of an attorney.

The latest Florida Chamber of Commerce political poll was conducted by Cherry Communications. Data was gathered via telephone interviews. The participants were selected from a list of likely voters and newly registered voters. This recent poll had a total of 617 respondents across the state. Among these participants, 250 were Republicans, 263 were Democrats and 104 identified as others.

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Organizations in this Story

Florida Justice Association Florida Supreme Court