Tort reform will, again, be an important issue in the upcoming session of the Florida Legislature. Kim McGlynn, a Government Relations Professional, says “bad faith” litigation reform is among the leading issues for insurance companies and groups interested in tort reform. “Florida’s bad faith statute is prone to significant and widespread abuses by plaintiffs’ attorneys and some experts consider Florida the worst state in the country for exposure to bad faith litigation,” McGlynn said. With support both in the legislature and from the newly elected Governor, she says, the issue is ripe for change.
While the bill is still in the development stage, it is expected that bad faith reform proposals will include basic changes to allow more fairness in the process. Some of those changes could include: allowing more time for insurance companies and the Office of Insurance Regulation to investigate instances of alleged bad faith in processing of claims and to work toward resolution;extending the time allowed to correct alleged bad faith; eliminating plaintiff attorneys’ “gotcha” games with multi-conditional demands; a statutory duty for claimants and counsel to negotiate in good faith; and a requirement that bad faith claims must be brought exclusively under the statute, not under common law.
This issue will be followed closely as it moves through the legislative process.