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Statement By:
Barney Bishop III, President and CEO, Associated Industries of Florida

Regarding Governor Jeb Bush’s Tort Reform Bill Signing  

April 26, 2006

TALLAHASSEE —“I am proud to stand with Governor Jeb Bush and legislative leaders today in support of HB 145 which repeals the unfair doctrine of joint and several liability.  Associated Industries has been working aggressively on this issue since 1973 - when this doctrine first was put into law – and now its repeal will finally bring fairness to the civil court system in Florida.   

“This historic legislation will bring Florida into legal step with most of the southeastern states, the neighbors we compete with for job and business growth. The Governor’s signature on this bill today will greatly enhance Florida’s business climate, making our state even more attractive to existing companies who are seeking to expand as well as creating new businesses opportunities.

“Under the leadership of Governor Bush, House Speaker Allan Bense, Senate President Lee, and bill sponsors Representative Don Brown and Senator Dan Webster, we have attained a common goal to return fairness to the legal system. The judicial process will now assign damages fairly - based on the degree of fault - instead of allowing for lawsuits targeting the wealthiest defendants, even if they were least at fault.  

“I applaud the Florida Coalition for Legal Reform and the AIF lobbying team for their extraordinary efforts in helping to pass this common sense justice reform. We thank Governor Bush for making meaningful tort reform a priority this session and throughout his administration and we look forward to a legal system that treats the people and businesses of Florida fairly.”