Why I’m Voting for Jobs, Not Lawsuits in Florida

Elections Florida Lawsuit Abuse Trial Lawyers

As the proud owner of a Florida business, I’m always focused on growing my company and providing my employees with the opportunities they need to advance and thrive. Because of this, I have become increasingly concerned about the litigation environment in Florida and the direction my state is headed.

Small businesses like mine – the businesses who employ our neighbors, serve our customers and give back to our communities – are frequently the targets of unnecessary lawsuits. These lawsuits are often filed without any merit. They’re after any “pocket” and small businesses are easy prey.

Lawsuit abuse can have devastating consequences for small businesses. Faced with these challenges, we are often forced to cancel expansion plans, cut staff, and, in the worst cases, close down entirely.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to buck the system and fight back against these lawsuits. Expensive legal fees, a tilted playing field, and lengthy time commitments can make fighting these lawsuits almost unfeasible. For most small businesses, it is usually easier and prudent to settle a lawsuit out of court, even when we are not at all at fault. Oftentimes a minimal or insignificant judgment of even a single dollar will require the defendant to be liable for the plaintiffs legal fees of tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. It never makes sense for anyone to try to fight these. You could easily lose your entire business over it.

Each individual lawsuit only further contributes to the cycle of lawsuit abuse that is currently running rampant in Florida. Frivolous lawsuits lead to other frivolous lawsuits, which lines the pockets of the trial bar and encourages more litigation extortion against small businesses such as mine.

And the cycle continues. If a judge does not “rubber stamp” a case or allow for outrageous legal fees on cases where plaintiffs win minimal judgments, many trial lawyers will find another judicial candidate who will comply with their demands – and proceed to donate to a war chest of political funding to fight the incumbent. The typical county judge race in Florida has total campaign funding of around $5,000. When fighting someone with $100,000, it is almost impossible for the underfunded judge to keep his or her seat. This isn’t myth. I’m witnessing this trend happen right in my backyard in Lake County.

Let me be clear. I’m not against using our legal system to find a solution fair to all parties when necessary as a last resort. I just think that the sense of “fairness” and “last resort” have been lacking in Florida, where we’ve become plagued with a “sue-happy” mentality.

Drive down the interstate, and you’ll be bombarded with trial lawyer advertisements. Open any newspaper, and you’ll see news on the latest egregious verdict coming out of our courts. Spill a drink at a dinner party and you’ll hear the (hopefully) joking line, “I’ll sue you for that!”

Right now, this issue is getting worse and not better. The trial bar’s wide influence in Florida will continue extending campaign donations to their preferred candidates.

We need citizens to step up and take action to prevent the situation from getting worse this election cycle. It is up to all of us to return the legal system to its original purpose: serving the people and not just the trial bar. One month from now, I will be voting to point Florida in a different direction – by supporting candidates that would put an end to lawsuit abuse – and I urge my neighbors to do the same.

Guest post written by Bob Molsick, Sick of Lawsuits supporter and small business owner in Florida. 

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A project of Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, Sick of Lawsuits is an online network of people who are interested in restoring integrity to our justice system by addressing issues surrounding legal reform. We encourage citizens to be empowered as legal consumers, take action against abuses, and help restore common sense and fairness to our legal system.


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