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The hugs and thanks of injured victims give a Cape Coral lawyer-legislator fulfillment he had not experienced in 17 years defending against the claims of the same victims. Welcome to the Plaintiffs’ Bar, a legal practice that does make a difference, one client at a time.

From the Tallahassee Democrat:

Jeff Kottkamp used to defend corporate behemoths like Publix Super Markets against personal-injury lawsuits.

But last August, the Cape Coral Republican lawmaker moved to the opposite side of the courtroom – leaving one of the oldest law firms in Florida to join the plaintiff’s practice at Morgan & Morgan, which has won multimillion-dollar verdicts suing those same companies.

Kottkamp is also finding himself on a new team in Tallahassee, fighting against a top political priority of the companies he once defended: repealing the Florida law that lets injury victims go after deep-pocketed defendants.

Last month, the veteran conservative voted against a House bill that would throw out the long-held legal doctrine of ”joint and several liability,” whereby a guilty defendant in a suit can be forced to pay more than his or her share of the money damages.

It was the first time Kottkamp had voted against a tort bill in his five-year legislative career.

Kottkamp, who did defense work for 17 years, said he finds the opposite end of the courtroom more fulfilling.

On his first day last August, he helped close a settlement for a man left with permanent nerve damage after an auto accident.

”Clients were crying and hugged me and thanked me,” he said. ”That has never happened in my entire career as a defense lawyer.”

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