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Fla. med-mal: speaking of waivers...

Florida voters may have thought they were voting to slap a limit on the contingency fees lawyers could charge in medical malpractice cases, but the state's supreme court in September agreed to pull the teeth from that reform, ruling that the lawyers could simply get the customers to sign waivers agreeing to pay the old higher rates after all. (Try to imagine the reaction in consumer-law circles if, say, finance companies asserted a similar logic and started getting consumers to sign waivers of legislated curbs on payday-loan fees). So now organized medicine in Florida is resorting to quaint humor to make its point:

using the very waiver form approved by the Supreme Court as a template, the FMA [Florida Medical Association] has developed its own waiver form that would allow patients to waive their right to unlimited economic damages and provide a cap of $250,000 for such damages.

It can be safely predicted that such a waiver form, unlike the one proffered by the lawyers, won't be upheld as binding when it reaches the Florida Supreme Court, but that itself is much of the educational point. For two different views of the Amendment 3 waiver issue, incidentally, see this one (angry at court's majority for ignoring electorate's views) and this one (suggests that the new law is having a significant effect despite availability of waiver).



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.