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Bob Carroll
Bob Carroll
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One More Victory For Corporate America

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How can an organization call itself FreedomWorks Florida and continuously lobby for the interests of large corporations? This week FreedomWorks Florida is sounding the trumpet because it has succeeded in its effort to abolish the legal doctrine of joint and several liability in the Florida civil justice system. By its own statements Freedom Works aligns itself with the “deep pockets” of the state against the the injured victims of careless, reckless or intentional acts.

Someone who is severely injured due to the combined negligence or recklessness of Progress Energy, Billy Bob Smith and a day laborer will now be fully compensated only if Billy Bob and the day laborer happen to have carried large liability insurance policies. Progress Energy gets to lay off as much of its responsibility for the damages as it can by convincing a jury that Billy Bob and the day laborer were the really bad actors.

I am less concerned about the “deep pockets” and large corporations of the world than I am about the injured victims. I see no problem permitting the victim to recover from any “deep pocket” whose misconduct caused the injury, even if other wrongdoers were involved. After all, the jury had to decide that the injury would not have occurred in the first place “but for” the misconduct of the corporate defendant.

Apparently, FreedomWorks is more concerned over the welfare of the “deep pockets”.

Here is a portion of the FreedomWorks press release:

Tallahassee, Florida – Tallahassee, Florida – FreedomWorks Florida is please to have played a critical role in helping to pass SB 2006 on Thursday to help stop frivolous lawsuits in Florida. Over the last three years, FreedomWorks Florida has engaged in an active grassroots campaign to raise public awareness on the issue and reached out to legislators. Hundreds of letters and phone calls were generated by FreedomWorks members to the Statehouse and on several occasions during the campaign activists from across the state of Florida converged on Tallahassee to meet directly with lawmakers.

This tort reform will require a court to hold a person or business responsible for only the damage they actually cause. SB 2006 (HB 145) eliminated so-called “joint and several liability,” which forced a defendant to pay excess damages in a lawsuit if other defendants could not afford to pay their fair share.

This criterion for lawsuits is patently unfair, and encourages abusive trial lawyers to go after corporations, insurers and others that are said to have “deep pockets.” SB 2006 would help end this disturbing trend.