Date of release: February 28, 2001
Media contact: Solicitor General Tom Warner
Phone number: 850-414-3681
State of Florida
Files Appeal to Protect Florida Tort Reform Act
TALLAHASSEE -Solicitor General Tom Warner filed an appeal to the 1st District Court of Appeal today on behalf of the State of
Florida to protect the Florida Tort Reform Act passed by the legislature
in 1999. On February 9, 2001, Circuit
Court Judge Nikki Clark issued an order declaring the comprehensive
tort reform act unconstitutional. Judge Clark's opinion claims that
the law violated the single-subject requirement for legislative enactments
in the Florida Constitution.
The Florida Tort Reform Act adopts comprehensive
modifications to Florida's civil court system, including sanctions to
discourage frivolous lawsuits. Other provisions of the bill address
concerns raised by private property owners and business interests
regarding the standards developed by courts related to personal injury
lawsuits. The bill also limited the amount of punitive damages that
could be awarded in such cases.
According to Solicitor General Tom Warner, "The
tort reform act was the result of several years of legislative
discussion and debate to address wide ranging problems within the civil
litigation system. The judge's order striking the law challenges the
authority of the legislature to address comprehensive problems of the
State in a single act. The State of Florida is appealing this order, not
only to preserve the legislature's work product, but also because we
don't want the court to rigidly limit the legislature's ability to
protect the interests of Florida's citizens.
Furthermore, the lawsuit is really asking for an
advisory opinion from the court, which we believe the court has no
jurisdiction to give."
516 North Adams Street ● Post Office Box 784 ● Tallahassee, Florida 32302-0784 ● Phone: (850) 224-7173 ● Fax: (850) 224-6532 ● www.aif.com