Florida Justice Association braces consumers for ‘trifecta of terrible’ today

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The Florida Justice Association put out an advisory warning that Tuesday’s legislative action could include an “anti-consumer onslaught,” as bills on the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement agreement, medical malpractice litigation and insurance company misconduct are all taken up in committee.

“These pieces of legislation all have the direct effect of benefiting narrow industries at the expense of fairness and victims’ rights,” said Troy Rafferty, president of the trial lawyers’ group, in a statement. 
“As the President of an organization with plenty of conservative Republicans who believe in the power of competition, level playing fields, and the 7th Amendment Right to Trial by Jury, I sincerely hope they will take this opportunity to stand with average Floridians against these blatant power grabs by industry lobbyists who are too used to getting their way.”
As part of their campaign, three plaintiffs in the so-called Big Tobacco case will be on hand in the Capitol tomorrow morning to tell their stories publicly and speak with reporters ahead of a meeting of the House Civil Justice Subcommittee at 8 a.m.
That panel will consider HB 1067 by state Rep. David Santiago, which would eliminate the awarding of punitive damages for around 4,000 cases against the Big Four tobacco manufacturers covered in the 1998 landmark agreement.
The group will also be testifying against state Sen. Jeff Brandes‘ SB 1088, which would relax “good faith” requirements on insurance policy writers and HB 1199 by state Rep. Larry Metz –– himself an attorney — which aims to change the scope of evidence presented to juries in personal injury cases.

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to FloridaPolitics.com and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at [email protected]