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Midway through 2015 Session, Florida Justice Association emerging as early winner

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Who would have guessed on primary night 2014 that the Florida Justice Association would look so formidable at halftime of this year’s legislative session?

After playing and losing in a handful of Republican primaries that night, the FJA continued to take a political battering last cycle.

They doubled down on Charlie Crist‘s close-but-no-cigar challenge to Rick Scott, Amendment 2 failed to garner the 60 percent of the vote necessary to become enshrined in the state Constitution and six largely lawyer-friendly House Democrats bit the dust in November.

Despite those troubles, FJA has quickly shaken off the dust and put together an impressive first month of session.

It has played successful defense so far when it comes to the all-important issue of Big Tobacco liability, as well as pro-insurance legislation that would restrict access to the courts for folks looking to claim damages from insurers.

The advocates’ advocacy group is even playing a little offense, actively supporting state Sen. David Simmons‘ bill to require transportation network companies to carry insurance, resolving ambiguities in that ever-fluid industry.

Not a bad half-session’s work for a group supposedly at the end of its rope.

Now, will the trial lawyers and their legislative allies be able to stave off insurance-backed attacks against language on so-called “assignment of benefits” and limitations on medical damages that are still alive and well, if dormant?

The jury is still out, but the defense looks to be at the top of its game.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.

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