In 1997, the Florida Legislature saw a serious lobbying effort aimed at securing the enactment of wholesale revisions to Florida's civil justice system. These reforms, if enacted, would substantially dilute important doctrines such as Florida's dangerous instrumentality doctrine, provide more defenses to escape liability, and create higher hurdles before plaintiffs can receive certain types of damages. Championed by the business community, the reforms would limit defendants' liability at the cost of putting the safety of Florida's citizens at risk.
Part II of this Article examines both the historical and political environment that led to this effort. Part III analyzes the motivating factors behind the push for reform. Part IV addresses the proposals for reform, while Part V discusses what has happened since the end of the 1997 session. Part VI examines whether there truly is a need for tort reform. Part VII concludes that the battle over tort reform will surely continue into the 1998 legislative session.
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