Rep. Fitzenhagen disputes classification of Florida as judicial hellhole

by Carrie Bradon, Florida Record

State Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen (R-Fort Myers) of the 78th District disagrees with a recent publication of the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) that ranked Florida as the second-worst judicial hellhole in the nation, a ranking believed to be strongly linked to frivolous lawsuits and an overall lack of tort reform.

“I do not consider Florida a judicial hell hole,” Fitzenhagen told the Florida Record. “Rather. I believe Florida is a bastion of sound legal representation and knowledgeable, balanced jurisprudence.”

Fitzenhagen said in any industry or field, there will always be individuals who abuse the system. For example, in the case of Florida, a 2018 class action lawsuit was brought against McDonald’s in which the plaintiff alleged that they were forced to pay for cheese even if they did not want it.

According to the American Tort Reform Association, “The lawsuit was filed by Andrew Lavin of the Miami-based Lavin Law Group and it quickly caught the attention of another South Florida plaintiffs’ firm. John Uustal of Kelley Uustal believes this case is actually a secret plot by tort reform organizations to discredit the Florida trial bar.”

In situations such as these, Fitzenhagen believes the answer lies with determining those who are guilty of fraud.

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