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Right or Wrong
The Inhumane and Toxic Implications of House Bill 17
Yesterday, we helped save a single mom’s home from foreclosure. She and her kids will have a place to sleep tonight. This morning, we were able to settle a case for a minor who was horribly injured in a car accident. This recovery will provide the family with the financial stability they desperately need. Most days are like this for me, and I love it. I love being a lawyer, practicing law, and helping people restore hope when they have lost it. But every once in a while, something comes across my desk that makes me ask, “WTH were they thinking?” For example, I recently read House Bill 17, which is pending in the Florida House of Representatives. Trust me, you didn’t want to be within shouting distance when I was reading this bill. I was absolutely disgusted, and everyone around me knew it. If this bill becomes a law, clients who have been injured by the negligence of another party are only entitled to $1 million for non- economic damages. In other words, the Florida Legislature wants to cap jury awards. I think they are overstepping their bounds just a bit and infringing on the jury. Non-economic damages include but are not limited to pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, etc. How can some bureaucrat in Tallahassee think this is a good thing for Floridians? As if that wasn’t enough, the bill also mandates that the jury not be told of this limit. So now we must keep juries in the dark — not about how much they can award — but about
how much an injured plaintiff will actually receive. It’s bad enough that we deceive juries in auto accident cases by not telling them about auto insurance in the first place. Now, we are going to further deceive the members of the jury and let them think their verdict mattered. It is deceptive and unfair. I learned that a democracy is simple: rule by the people. I don’t know of any decent Floridian who has driven on I-75 or I-4 in the last few months who could possibly be in favor of this bill. Basically, our elected officials are saying that no matter how badly you are injured, your pain and suffering will cap out at $1 million. That is ridiculous. Our elected officials in Tallahassee must be smoking crack and not talking to their constituents — unless their constituents are the insurance companies. But wait a minute, that’s not democracy ... is it? When I was young and couldn’t figure things out, my dad told me to follow the money. If you follow the money, you will be on the path to figuring out the real problem and who is behind it. Here, the money takes you on a path of greed. All Floridians lose on this issue. I cannot think of one Floridian who wins under this House bill. Oh, wait, I am mistaken. I can think of a few, and they are sitting in Tallahassee (probably having lunch right now with an insurance company lobbyist).
devastating and life-altering auto accident. But no matter how small my little bubble may be, the scope of this travesty is so much greater than all of us. As an attorney, I want to achieve justice for my clients, no matter what the benefit to me may be, so I don’t want to have to look the parents of a 7-year-old child in the eyes and tell them that their child’s full damage claim is not going to be covered because some bureaucrats in Tallahassee sold them out by passing a bill that protects insurance companies. As citizens of the great state of Florida, we have a duty to elect representatives who will speak the minds of the people and bring forth bills to protect the rights of private citizens. We have a duty to elect people to office who are not the kind of clowns who let this sort of thing happen as they get payouts from lobbyists. The argument for these caps is that the lawyers and juries are out of control. They are saying that lawyers are pushing for unnecessary and substantial amounts for their clients. Well, if protecting my clients makes me part of the problem, then that’s a moniker I don’t mind wearing on my sleeve. We here at the Dellutri Law Group will not allow corrupt thinking to become the norm, and we will always stand by our clients in their fight for proper compensation and recognition from those who changed their lives for the worse.
I am just a lawyer representing blue collar people in their struggle to get by after a
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