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November 04, 2004
Florida amendments fallout
Per a commenter at MedRants, the three successful Florida initiatives are all likely headed for court soon, with the lawyers seeking to overturn Amendment 3 and the Florida Medical Association challenging doctor-burdening Amendments 7 and 8. The Florida Supreme Court has been considered rather a favorable forum for plaintiffs'-side interests, so it will be interesting to see whether its members will heed the wishes of a strong majority of voting residents of the state who have shown their desire to curb lawyers' fees.
The "three-strikes" idea in Amendment 8 applies retroactively: currently practicing doctors will inherit one, two or even a license-revoking three strikes if they've been found to have committed three acts of malpractice anywhere (not just in Florida). Very few doctors actually lose three malpractice trials, but the amendment provides that "The phrase 'found to have committed' means that the malpractice has been found in a final judgment of a court or law, final administrative agency decision, or decision of binding arbitration." Presumably a lot of doctors, especially in specialties where multiple payouts are not uncommon such as neurosurgery and orthopedic surgery, are now rechecking their closed-cases-with-payment to reassure themselves about whether liability was admitted as part of the settlement. P.S. Law.com's Miami Daily Business Review is out with a closer look at the post-initiative maneuvering, which is better-informed on several points than my sketchy ramblings above.
Posted by Walter Olson at 04:20 PM
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