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Workers comp rate hike ruling gives trial lawyers reason to cheer. But how long will it last?

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This Thanksgiving, a Leon County judge gave trial lawyers one more reason to be thankful. But that may not last long. On Nov. 23 – just one day before Thanksgiving — Circuit Judge Karen Gievers put the brakes on a 14.5 percent workers’ compensation rate increase, scheduled to go into effect Dec. 1. Gievers ruled that in setting the new rate, state officials and the insurers’ rating organization were not in compliance with Florida’s Sunshine Laws and open meeting requirements.…

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Ryan Banfill joins Florida Justice Association as communications director

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The Florida Justice Association announced Ryan Banfill has joined the civil justice advocacy group as communications director. Banfill, 52, previously served as a Senior Vice President with Sachs Media Group in Tallahassee. “Over the past 25 years, working with the governor’s office, the Florida Legislature and in the private sector, Ryan has been involved in many of the issues and events that have shaped today’s Florida,” said Debra Henley, executive director of the Florida Justice Association. “We are proud to…

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No deadline for decision on big workers’ comp hike

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A public hearing this week represented a major battle in the war over a proposed major increase in workers’ compensation insurance premiums, but the fighting is by no means over. The Office of Insurance Regulation will accept public comments on the proposed 19.6 percent hike until close of business Aug. 23. “While there is no defined period of review, the office will take the time that is necessary to come to a fully informed decision,” spokeswoman Any Bogner said via…

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Attorneys defend Florida Supreme Court decision on workers’ comp rate increase

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Trial attorneys mounted an ardent defense Tuesday of Florida Supreme Court rulings blamed by business interests for threatening an increase in workers’ compensation insurance premiums of nearly 20 percent. Mark Touby, a Coral Gables attorney who helped persuade the justices to eliminate a limit on attorney fees in workers’ compensation cases, insisted during a public hearing that claimants wouldn’t need to hire lawyers if insurance companies played fair. “The carriers are the ones making these decisions. They wrongfully denied benefits…

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Threats to consumers? Or threats to hospitals?

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A hearing late this afternoon before the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee could mark a session-long fight over Florida’s consumer protection laws as they relate to bill collectors harassing private citizens and hospitals finding themselves perhaps caught in a scam and paying a high penalty for a purposefully mismailed complaint. A bill by Sen. Kelli Stargel, a Lakeland Republican, Senate Bill 562, would shield hospitals from liability when bill collection demands continue to harass private citizens over their unpaid bills. But the bill creates more harassment…

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Democrat Gary Farmer posts $210K in first month of SD 29 race

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Consumer advocate attorney Gary Farmer announced solid fundraising numbers for October, with $210,000 raised in the first month as a candidate for Florida Senate District 29. Farmer, a former president of the Florida Justice Association, is seeking the seat currently held by term-limited Democratic state Sen. Jeremy Ring. SD 29 covers most of Broward County. Farmer also said he loaned his campaign $100,000, leaving him with more than $300,000 cash on hand. He noted that much of the support came…

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SD 29 race gets second filer, setting up Democratic primary

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Senate District 29 got a second filer Monday, setting up an expensive and contentious Democratic primary for the Broward County seat held by term-limited state Sen. Jeremy Ring. Fort Lauderdale attorney Gary Farmer, who was the 2012-13 president of the Florida Justice Association, will face off against former state Rep. Jim Waldman for the seat. Farmer’s entry has been rumored for months and his candidacy should get the backing of the FJA over Waldman, despite the former representative’s track record…

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