Lawmakers in Louisiana’s neighboring state, Florida, recently passed legislation that would limit the ability of plaintiffs to win damages against carmakers in products liability suits. Even though the Florida law does not directly impact Louisiana, it is still beneficial to talk about the development in products liability law.
On Wednesday, the Florida House passed a bill that would make it more difficult for plaintiffs to win damages in product liability cases. Under the new law, juries in products liability cases would have to consider the fault of all persons involved in an accident when apportioning the damages in a products liability action. The proposed law has already passed in the Florida Senate and will now go to the governor of Florida to be signed. The bill had a large degree of support in the House and passed by a vote of 80 – 35.
If signed into law, the bill would offset a 2001 Florida Supreme Court decision where the court ruled that evidence of the primary cause of the crash like driver drunkenness or error could not be introduced in product liability cases.
The president of Associated Industries of Florida, a state lobby for big business, lauded the new legislation and said the state Supreme Court decision was unfair and absurd because it did not provide the jury critical information on the state of the driver’s condition in an accident. Lawmakers who did not support the bill say the new law will shift medical expenses for serious car accidents to taxpayers.
Source: The Associated Press, “Florida lawmakers limit lawsuits against automakers,” James L. Rosica, 5/4/11