Laws impacting policyholders is something Merlin Law Group attorneys are concerned about. We try to be the Policyholder’s Advocate® by our actions and not just pay lip service to it. So, we often travel to meet with legislators and regulators in various states about policyholder rights.

Dan Ballard was in the New Jersey legislature two weeks ago supporting a bad faith bill to help policyholders. I found myself in Tallahassee this Tuesday speaking against a bill which would change the manner attorneys fees are determined by courts. Since a few policyholders will certainly not be able to afford to pay an attorney out of their pocket and find attorneys willing to take their cases based on the change in the law, I spoke against it—but was given a grand total of about 2 minutes to speak! Why have hearings about bills if the public cannot participate?

The stated reason for the bill was to change the law to the federal standard which does not allow a contingent fee multiplier. If this is the reason for the change, then those Florida Senators need to change the gun rights law in Florida which specifically allows for an attorney fee multiplier.

F.S. 790.33(3)(f) is a law dealing with penalties against local governments that try to regulate firearms. Part of this law states:

A court shall award the prevailing plaintiff in any such suit:

1. Reasonable attorney’s fees and costs in accordance with the laws of this state, including a contingency fee multiplier, as authorized by law;

(Emphasis added)

It seems like quite a double standard on the part of the gun-loving legislature to mandate an attorney contingency fee multiplier for gun cases but forbid them for the consumers fighting their own insurance companies who wrongfully deny claims. If they do this to policyholders, those supporting the anti-policyholder bill should change the gun law as well.

Thought For The Day

Politics: A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.
—Ambrose Bierce

  • David Neblett

    Thank you for your work and efforts in Florida to oppose this bill that will limit access to the Courts. Insurance companies are throwing money at this bill. Everyone should fight against big insurance to keep the “playing field” as equal as possible. Please contact your legislators and take action.

  • ND

    Excellent points Chip and thank you for always standing up for policyholders by speaking out against anti consumer efforts like this. This bill essentially makes David’s slingshot prohibitively expensive right before his fight with Goliath. That’s simply not in the spirit of the consumer protections prior legislatures understood were necessary to protect insured Floridians who are at financial risk after a loss. This bill protects insurers who behave badly toward their policyholders and makes it much more difficult to hold them accountable. That’s simply not fair. I wish more people understood the implications and realized how important it is to reach out to their elected officials demanding a no vote on this anti consumer bill. Thank you for shedding light on the issue.