2014 Legislative Session Loser: Florida Justice Association

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This once proud organization used to command respect on the Fourth Floor and in the EOG. No longer. This year, it did something they have never done in its long history (this organization once toppled the most powerful state Senator in modern history, Dempsey Barron): It agreed to – and even publicly supported – a tort reform measure in order to ensure no further harm to their members.

The Florida Justice Association cut a deal that will live in infamy. It agreed to restrict lawsuits brought by injured nursing home residents against large corporate nursing home owners in exchange for allowing smaller suits against mom & pop and locally-owned nursing homes – an idea it vigorously and vocally opposed in past years.

In the process, it tossed overboard a highly regarded former member who specializes in these kinds of suits (and who they once gave its highest advocacy award to) in order to have a peaceful session.

The deal worked. No other tort bills even made it to the floor. But the need to cut such a pitiful deal spells trouble for the future of this waning power.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.