JUDGE GRANTS INJUNCTION AGAINST FLORIDA'S PIP REFORM

Florida Second Judicial Circuit Judge Terry Lewis has entered an Order granting a Motion for Temporary Injunction concerning the recent amendments to Florida’s PIP (Personal Injury Protection) statutes.

The motion was brought by plaintiffs who are chiropractic physicians, massage therapists, and acupuncturists who filed a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief, challenging the constitutionality of the reforms made to the existing PIP laws. The plaintiff’s challenged the act on different grounds, including: (1) the Act violates procedural and substantive due process rights; (2) the Act is not rationally related to a legitimate public policy or objective; (3) the Act violates the single subject rule and the separation of powers; and (4) the Act violates the right of people to have access to the court to seek redress for their injuries.

In granting the injunction, the judge held that the plaintiff’s met their burden only as it pertained to the fourth argument regarding the Act's violation of access to court. The judge provided a well-reasoned analysis, addressing the creation of the PIP laws in Florida and contrasting the original intent to the PIP amendments that limit’s citizens’ ability to be to seek redress for their car accident injuries. In his constitutional analysis, Judge Terry noted that “the continued revisions of the PIP statute, is just one example of this experiment with socialism and the trend away from libertarian principles of individual liberty and personal responsibility.”

In response to this ruling, Governor Rick Scott has come out and publically noted that he intends to fight the judge’s ruling in an effort to uphold the amendments. These amendments were a major focus point for the insurance lobby during last year’s legislation session and seen as a major victory for the insurance industry. Given the limitations of the new PIP laws, which include limitations and restrictions on recovery for pain and suffering, limiting individuals ability to seek coverage under their insurance policies, and capping service and care for those who are injured in a motor vehicle accident, the matter will likely have to be decided by the appellate courts as the insurance lobby is sure to force an appeal.

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