» Nursing Home Lawsuit Reform Passes Florida Senate Committee

Nursing Home Lawsuit Reform Passes Florida Senate Committee

Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) May 20, 2013 - A bill that would make it more difficult to sue nursing homes passed a Florida Senate committee.

SB 1384, sponsored by Senator Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 7-2 vote. The bill would affect plaintiffs seeking to recover punitive damages from nursing homes. They would have to establish at an evidentiary hearing that the nursing home breached its legal duty, resulting in actual injury, loss, or damage.

“While some lawsuits brought against nursing homes, as in any field of practice, may be frivolous or unfounded, I think this bill is a misguided attempt at reform,” said Tampa nursing home abuse lawyer Robert Joyce. “If this bill becomes law, some perfectly valid and necessary lawsuits may be held up or even prevented from proceeding.”

Under current law, plaintiffs must present evidence at a pre-trial hearing, but need not prove that it is admissible. This presentation of evidence is called a “proffer.” Galvano's bill would require a stricter hearing to vet the plaintiff's evidence and would require the presiding judge to grant permission to seek punitive damages.

Galvano said that his bill prevents proffers on what may turn out to be inadmissible evidence or hearsay.

Before passing committee, the bill was significantly amended to remove a provision that made it more difficult to sue a nursing home's parent company. Galvano said that in the spirit of compromise, he would not oppose the change.

The bill now concerns only punitive damages. Opponents say it still goes too far because a 2001 law set the bar too high already. That change requires 50 percent of punitive damages awarded against nursing homes to go to a state “quality trust fund.” Steve Watrel, an attorney in Jacksonville who opposes Galvano's bill, said the change was a disincentive to punitive damage claims, and no such claims have been awarded since it was enacted.

Other opponents who urged lawmakers to reject the bill included the AARP and the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans.

Two more committees must approve the bill before the full Senate can vote on it. Its House companion bill is HB 869.

To learn more or to contact a Tampa personal injury attorney at the Joyce & Reyes Law Firm, P.A. visit http://www.joyceandreyespa.com/ or call 1.888.771.1529.

Joyce and Reyes Law Firm, P.A.
307 S Hyde Park Ave,
Tampa, FL 33606
Call: 813.251.2007


View Larger Map

  • Florida pill mill operator sentenced to six years in prison
    A Florida “pill mill” operator was sentenced to six years in federal prison, after prosecutors said he made “exceptional” efforts to help investigators, which led to convictions of other people involved in illegal distribution of prescription drugs. Pasquale Gervasio who helped run pain clinics in Florida, which were raided in 2011, pleaded guilty to a […]
  • Florida couple file medical malpractice lawsuit over allegedly botched surgery
    A Florida couple filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against a medical facility and doctor, claiming that a surgery resulted in nerve damage. Knud Hostrup and Maria Luzia Hostrup filed the lawsuit against doctor Matthew E. Wells and an orthopedic surgery and sports medicine center May 2, alleging medical malpractice. The complaint alleges that Mr. Hostrup […]
  • Florida family wins $33.8 million medical malpractice award in brain injury case
    A Florida family was awarded $33.8 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit after a judge ruled that a baby’s irreversible brain damage was caused by the decisions of a federally employed doctor. The baby’s mother was a patient at Jessie Trice Community Health Center in Miami Gardens, Florida when the baby was born on December […]

See other news sources publishing this article. BETA | Tags: , , , , ,



Get headlines from Law Firm Newswire sent right to your inbox.

* indicates required