HB 837 on Civil Remedies was filed by Representatives Gregory and Fabricio. The bill proposes statutory changes as follows:
- Changes Florida’s comparative negligence system from a “pure” comparative negligence system to a “modified” comparative negligence system, so that a plaintiff who is more at fault for his or her own injuries than the defendant may not recover damages from the defendant.
- Provides uniform standards to assist juries in calculating the accurate value of medical damages in personal injury or wrongful death actions. •
- Modifies Florida’s “bad faith” framework to:
- Require a claimant to notify an insurer that the claimant intends to bring a bad faith action in all bad faith cases.
- Allow an insurer 60 days to pay the claimant damages or correct the circumstances giving rise to the alleged violation, thereby avoiding bad faith liability.
- Clarify that negligence alone is not enough to demonstrate bad faith.
- Require a claimant to act in good faith with respect to furnishing information, making demands, setting deadlines, and attempting to settle the insurance claim.
- Allow an insurer, when there are multiple claimants in a single action, to limit the insurer’s bad faith liability by paying the total amount of the policy limits at the outset.
- Provides that a contingency fee multiplier for an attorney fee award is appropriate only in a rare and exceptional circumstance, adopting the federal standard.
- Repeals Florida’s one-way attorney fee provisions for insurance cases.
The bill provides an effective date of July 1, 2023. The bill was filed on February 15, 2023. That evening, the bill was referred to the Civil Justice Subcommittee, the Judiciary Committee, and the Civil Justice Subcommittee. On February 17, the bill was added to the civil justice subcommittee’s agenda. I will post updates on the bill, but practitioners can track the bill at the link provided. Now is the time to get involved if at all possible. The staff analysis dated 2/17/23 has been published.
The full staff analysis is here: https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Documents/loaddoc.aspx?FileName=h0837.CJS.DOC X&DocumentType=Analysis&BillNumber=0837&Session=2023
Bill tracking is here: https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/sections/bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=77575
Terry P. Roberts
Director of Appellate Practice Fischer Redavid PLLC