New Legal Reform Group Joins Gov. Bush in Pushing Legal Reform for Sunshine State

March 15, 2005

At a rally for legal reform Tuesday in Tallahassee, the American Justice Partnership (AJP) joined Gov. Jeb Bush and the Florida Justice Reform Institute as they urged the Florida legislature to enact comprehensive tort reform.

“I want to praise Governor Bush for his leadership on legal reform here in Florida and also President Bush for his leadership at the federal level,” said AJP Chairman Steve Hantler. “Common sense legal reforms at both the state and federal levels that fairly balance the needs of consumers and business will restore fairness and predictability to our badly broken tort system without restricting access for legitimate claims. Who could oppose this, other than
Trial Lawyers Inc?”

The AJP is a coalition of state and national groups dedicated to winning legal reform in the states, of which Florida’s institute is a partner. Together, the two groups are working with the Florida Chamber of Commerce to help improve the state’s business climate, which has reportedly been affected by the badly broken civil justice system.

Gov. Bush supports legislation that calls for limiting class actions to
Florida residents, tightening the criteria for establishing a “class” of
plaintiffs, giving judges more authority to throw out frivolous lawsuits,
putting a stop to venue shopping, and making wrongdoers pay for their share of fault instead of only the defendant with the deepest pockets.

Nearby states, including Mississippi and Georgia, have recently passed comprehensive tort reform, and South Carolina is on the verge of enacting historic legal reform.

“Florida can’t stand idly by and just watch its neighbors in the South
make their states better places to live and do business,” said AJP President Dan Pero. “We have a great opportunity to level the playing field with the trial lawyers and enact true, meaningful reforms. But it is vital that the business community, legislators, and everyone who understands the importance of repairing Florida’s legal system stand together and build a stronger future for Florida.”

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