The rigorous study compares Florida’s current tort system against
benchmarks to calculate a cost-to-individual of $719.01 per Floridian.
Leaders in Florida today released the results of Economic Benefits of Tort Reform, a rigorous economic study calculating the costs of Florida’s current civil laws in comparison to benchmarks in other states. Florida has consistently ranked in the bottom 5 of all 50 states for lawsuit climate, as ranked by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform.
The study calculates that tort costs to the Florida economy are significant:
- $10.0 billion in annual direct costs
- $15.5 billion in annual output (gross product)
- 161,735 jobs when dynamic effects are considered
- $811.1 million in annual State revenues and $679.4 million in annual local government revenues.
Excess torts result in a “tort tax” of $719.01 per person.
“This study underscores the urgent need for lawsuit reform in Florida,” said Bill Herrle, the NFIB’s state executive director for Florida. “Small businesses are especially vulnerable to legal attacks. The cost of defending against a single baseless lawsuit can be enough to put a small business out of business—even if the case ultimately is thrown out of court. The small business community is eager to work with Governor DeSantis and legislative leaders to curb lawsuit lending, pass accuracy-in-damages reform, and stop lawsuits brought in ‘bad faith’ with the intent to cancel policy limits.”
“The Hispanic community understands that the system in Florida leads to economic disadvantages,” said Julio Fuentes, President of the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “Our membership are business owners and job creators, and we need a series of reforms to survive in Florida.”
A 2017 survey of corporate attorneys found that 85 percent of respondents indicated that the litigation environment in a state is likely to impact business decisions and corporate relocations.
“Tort reform remains among our top issues,” said Jim Maxwell, Vice President of Floridians for Government Accountability. “We are looking at the other benchmark states in the study, such as Ohio and Texas, which have adopted strong tort reform measures and are now enjoying positive economic impact. We encourage our policy makers to emulate good reforms in other states.”
Other speakers in the press conference included Senator Doug Broxson, Chair of the Committee on Banking and Insurance, and Representative Bob Rommel, Chair of the Civil Justice Subcommittee.
NFIB is the voice of small business, advocating on behalf of America’s small and independent business owners, both in Washington, D.C., and in all 50 state capitals. NFIB is nonprofit, nonpartisan, and member-driven. Since our founding in 1943, NFIB has been exclusively dedicated to small and independent businesses, and remains so today.
Tort reform generally refers to making changes to the civil justice system to limit either the ability to file a lawsuit or the amount of damages that can be received. Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA)’s goal is to make our court system fairer. Trial lawyers hijacking our civil justice system are costing American families additional tax dollars while frivolous lawsuits are cutting jobs and clogging the courts. These lawsuits compromise access to affordable health care, punish consumers by raising the costs of goods and services, and halt innovation. Legal reform is necessary to maintain economic prosperity.