It did not take long for part of the recent anti-policyholder legislation to be declared illegal. Last Friday, Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker heard arguments in a lawsuit filed by Gale Force Roofing and Restoration, LLC, that claims the portion of SB 76 that prevents contractors from advertising to encourage property owners to file roof-damage claims violated free speech protections. Judge Walker ruled in favor of Gale Force Roofing and issued an injunction stopping Florida officials from enforcing part of the bill.

Gale Force Roofing & Restoration, LLC sued Julie I. Brown, in her official capacity as Secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Judge Walker in the Northern District of Florida framed the controversy:

The issue in this case is whether the new law’s ban on written or electronic communication that encourages, induces, or instructs someone to contact a contractor or public adjuster for the purpose of filing an insurance claim for roof damage violates the First Amendment. Plaintiff alleges the law violates the First Amendment on its face.

The court granted the motion for preliminary injunction and enjoined DBPR from enforcing 489.147 Fla. Stat. He ordered that the DBPR must take no steps to enforce Florida Statutes §§ 489.147, (2)(a), (3), and 4(b) as they pertain to “prohibited advertisements,” until otherwise ordered. The preliminary injunction “binds Defendant and her officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys—and others in active concert or participation with any of them—who receive actual notice of this injunction by personal service or otherwise.” The injunction is effective immediately.

Tuesday at 2 with Chip Merlin will not take place today. Instead, we have a by invitation-only webinar with Holly Soffer who is an expert on public adjuster licensing where we will be discussing the impact of the new Florida legislation. You can bet that this new case will come up in the webinar.

Thought For The Day

Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom – and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech.
—Benjamin Franklin