Rep. Kathleen Passidomo discusses lawsuit reform at the Florida Chamber’s ‘Bottom Line’

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State Rep. Kathleen Passidomo believes Florida’s “gotcha” legal system has become a burden to both the public and small business. 

That’s why the Naples Republican, who sits on both the Civil Justice and the Judiciary Committees, sponsored the Fair Settlement act, which seeks reform in legal settlements.

Passidomo visited the Florida Chamber of Commerce in Tallahassee to discuss her ideas on common sense legal reforms to benefit both consumers and small businesses by developing fair resolution process in legal cases, in the latest edition of The Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line.

Hosted by Florida Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President David Hart, The Bottom Line is a public affairs program that takes a deeper look at Florida’s most influential political, legislative and economic issues. The program features interviews with decision makers, commercial and government leaders for solutions to the problems facing business and the public.

Passidomo’s bill (HB 187) requires, in part, a specific term for insurers to pay out a claim. The insurer, after receiving notice of loss, would have 45 days to offer up to the amount of coverage under the policy before the claimant can file a third-party bad faith litigation. The measure seeks to hold trial lawyers and insurance companies to the same set of standards.

“What this bill will do very simply gives the insurance carrier 45 days after the claimant notifies them of the loss and demands the policy limits, to pay the policy limits, and the insured is released from liability,” she says. “And if the insurance company does not respond in those 45 days, then they could be held in bad faith.”

Passidomo represents House District 106, which covers the southwest coastal corner of Collier County, including Naples, Marco Island, Pelican Bay and Moorings Park. She has long-championed reforming lawsuit abuse, which is also a priority of the Florida Chamber’s 2014 Competitiveness Agenda.

A 30-year Naples resident, Passidomo won her first election to the House in 2010 unopposed. As an attorney, she served as a founding member of both the Collier County Juvenile Justice Council and the Collier County Senior Resource Center.

As Rep. Passidomo explains, insurance companies are unable to settle a claim expeditiously because Florida lacks a system for third party cases.

Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line is available online.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.