Gov. Ron DeSantis quickly signed a bill containing sweeping limits on lawsuits (HB 837).

The tort bill is a priority for DeSantis, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and House Speaker Paul Renner.

“Florida has been considered a judicial hellhole for far too long and we are desperately in need of legal reform that brings us more in line with the rest of the country,” DeSantis said in a statement on the bill signing. “I am proud to sign this legislation to protect Floridians, safeguard our economy and attract more investment in our state.”

“The vast majority of attorneys work very hard to provide sound legal representation for Floridians in these difficult circumstances,” Passidomo added.

“Unfortunately, there are a few bad actors who are in the business to draw out civil cases as long as possible, collecting more and more fees from insurance companies. Litigation drives up the basic costs of goods and services for everyone across all areas of industry and commerce. Under the leadership of Gov. DeSantis, we have taken many steps to help keep Florida affordable for growing families and seniors. This legislation further those efforts striking the right balance and protect the rights of Floridians who suffer a loss, while at the same time safeguarding everyone else against the hidden costs of prolonged litigation.”

The bill makes substantive changes to how lawsuits are filed and litigated in the state, all but eliminating the longstanding statute that allows a policyholder who successfully sues their insurance company to recoup their attorney fees.

The new law also modifies the state’s comparative negligence system so that a plaintiff found to be more than 50% responsible for their own injury cannot recover damages. The measure also adjusts Florida’s bad-faith rules so that insurance companies cannot be sued for bad faith if, before a complaint is filed or within 90 days of being notified of the complaint, they tendered the lesser of the policy limits or the amount demanded by the claimant.

“Thank you Gov. DeSantis for signing transformational legislation to end lawsuit abuse,” Renner said.

“This legislation prevents frivolous lawsuits and allows good claims to move forward. These reforms make our economy more competitive and Florida more affordable for our citizens and businesses. Thank you to House sponsors Tommy Gregory and Tom Fabricio for your leadership on this bill.”

Gov. DeSantis signs sweeping legal reforms passed by Legislature (floridapolitics.com)