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Well the insurance lobby propaganda is up to business as usual. Today I read a post on the Sun-Sentinel website titled “Keep Target off Deep Pockets.” The post is clearly stating that “Fabre v. Marin” and it’s resulting codification is the only thing keeping lawyers from going after only deep pockets, leaving truly at fault, non-wealthy defendants out if they chose. Futher, the post incorrectly states that “Fabre Doctrine” creates apportionment of damages based on fault.

You can read this insidious misstatement of the law and the proposed Senate and House bills on the Sun-Sentinel website. For fear of generating more activity to that post, I do not want to post a link to it. I will however paste my reply below:

You couldn’t be more wrong!

First of all, Fabre did not stop lawyers from going after one party for all of the damages regardless of fault. Apportionment of damages based on fault was already codified prior to Fabre by the Florida Legislature in the Tort Reform and Insurance Act of 1986. What Fabre did decide and what was later codified as “Fabre Doctrine” was the ability to apportion damages not just among defendants based on their percentage of fault but also against non-parties. Under our current law, a defendant has to allege and prove by a preponderance of the evidence that a non-party was also at fault and that non-party can be added to the jury verdict form and damages can then be apportioned against that non-party. However, since that entity is a non-party, a plaintiff cannot collect a dime against them. The true result of Fabre Doctrine, Plaintiff lawyers have to sue everyone and sometimes even non-responsible parties get dragged in.

Also, you cite HB 733 and SB 1558 as creating a system where “personal injury lawyers would be able to target the deepest pocket regardless of their percentage of fault, letting those truly responsible walk away” and you say the bills would send a “green light to those lawyers who would cherry pick defendants in a get-rich-quick lawsuit-lottery game.” Maybe you haven’t read the bills? You should know the bills continue to apportion fault amongst all defendants only, it just eliminates apportionment among non-parties. If a defendant thinks someone else is to blame before Fabre or after if it gets abolished, they can still bring a non-party into court by making them a party via a third party complaint.

I think the insurance lobby’s misinformation is a disgusting abuse of its greed and attempt to continually influence, dominate and manipulate all the while painting trial lawyers as that which the insurance companies are, greedy and corrupt. Trial lawyers aren’t perfect and yes, some lawsuits are unfair and frivolous but there are many mechanisms to police corrupt attorneys. Frivolous lawsuits get quashed, propaganda that leads to increased profits for insurance companies at the expense of less benefits and higher premiums to the public do not. Where are the mechanisms to police the greed and corruption of our insurance companies who claim to be looking out for our best interests…?

Insurance companies are for-profit corporations. They make money by collecting premiums and not paying or paying out as little as they can.

I’d like to see how you feel if you get injured in an accident and the insurance companies who are paying for your propaganda website (specific website address deleted so it does not get more hits) decide not pay for your medical bills…

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