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Claims Bill Fee Cap Spurs Supreme Court Challenge

aaronedwards.jpg

The Florida Legislature is setting a dangerous precedent by capping attorney fees in claims bills, an attorney warned the state Supreme Court Thursday.

In 2007, a jury awarded $30 million to baby Aaron Edwards for the severe brain damage he suffered during a botched delivery at Lee Memorial Health System hospital in Fort Myers.

But sovereign immunity protects government agencies from liability greater than $200,000. So the Edwards waited five years for the Legislature to ante up. It agreed to $15 million, but capped attorney fees at $100,000.

Edwards’ attorney Christian Searcy warned justices capping attorneys fees will limit access to the courts.

“Nobody can imagine that if this is allowed to stand, anybody with a serious claim that is going to require a lot of work and a lot of cost expenditure is ever going to take that case.”

Sovereign immunity protects government agencies from damages exceeding 200 thousand dollars. But Deputy Solicitor General Racheal Nordby  argued the Legislature has broad powers when it comes to awarding attorney fees -- and hasn’t been afraid to use it.

“There are tons of examples in the laws of Florida going back years where the Legislature has exercised its discretion and deviated down.”

Searcy acknowledged the Legislature has broad powers, but he said those powers are restrained by the Constitution.

The Florida Legislature is setting a dangerous precedent by capping attorney fees in claims bills, an attorney warned the state Supreme Court Thursday. Jim Ash has more.

In 2007, a jury awarded $30 million to baby Aaron Edwards for the severe brain damage he suffered during a botched delivery at Lee Memorial Health System hospital in Fort Myers.

But sovereign immunity protects government agencies from liability greater than $200,000. So the Edwards waited five years for the Legislature to ante up. It agreed to $15 million, but capped attorney fees at $100,000.

Edwards’ attorney Christian Searcy warned justices the decision sets a dangerous precedent.

“Nobody can imagine that if this is allowed to stand, anybody with a serious claim that is going to require a lot of work and a lot of cost expenditure is ever going to take that case.”

Sovereign immunity protects government agencies from damages exceeding 200 thousand dollars. But Deputy Solicitor General Racheal Nordby  argued the Legislature has broad powers when it comes to awarding attorney fees -- and hasn’t been afraid to use it.

“There are tons of examples in the laws of Florida going back years where the Legislature has exercised its discretion and deviated down.”

Searcy acknowledged the Legislature has broad powers, but he said those powers are restrained by the Constitution.

The Florida Legislature is setting a dangerous precedent by capping attorney fees in claims bills, an attorney warned the state Supreme Court Thursday. Jim Ash has more.

In 2007, a jury awarded $30 million to baby Aaron Edwards for the severe brain damage he suffered during a botched delivery at Lee Memorial Health System hospital in Fort Myers.

But sovereign immunity protects government agencies from liability greater than $200,000. So the Edwards waited five years for the Legislature to ante up. It agreed to $15 million, but capped attorney fees at $100,000.

Edwards’ attorney Christian Searcy warned justices the decision sets a dangerous precedent.

“Nobody can imagine that if this is allowed to stand, anybody with a serious claim that is going to require a lot of work and a lot of cost expenditure is ever going to take that case.”

Sovereign immunity protects government agencies from damages exceeding 200 thousand dollars. But Deputy Solicitor General Racheal Nordby  argued the Legislature has broad powers when it comes to awarding attorney fees -- and hasn’t been afraid to use it.

“There are tons of examples in the laws of Florida going back years where the Legislature has exercised its discretion and deviated down.”

Searcy acknowledged the Legislature has broad powers, but he said those powers are restrained by the Constitution.

The Florida Legislature is setting a dangerous precedent by capping attorney fees in claims bills, an attorney warned the state Supreme Court Thursday. Jim Ash has more.

In 2007, a jury awarded $30 million to baby Aaron Edwards for the severe brain damage he suffered during a botched delivery at Lee Memorial Health System hospital in Fort Myers.

But sovereign immunity protects government agencies from liability greater than $200,000. So the Edwards waited five years for the Legislature to ante up. It agreed to $15 million, but capped attorney fees at $100,000.

Edwards’ attorney Christian Searcy warned justices the decision sets a dangerous precedent.

“Nobody can imagine that if this is allowed to stand, anybody with a serious claim that is going to require a lot of work and a lot of cost expenditure is ever going to take that case.”

Sovereign immunity protects government agencies from damages exceeding 200 thousand dollars. But Deputy Solicitor General Racheal Nordby  argued the Legislature has broad powers when it comes to awarding attorney fees -- and hasn’t been afraid to use it.

“There are tons of examples in the laws of Florida going back years where the Legislature has exercised its discretion and deviated down.”

Searcy acknowledged the Legislature has broad powers, but he said those powers are restrained by the Constitution.

The Florida Legislature is setting a dangerous precedent by capping attorney fees in claims bills, an attorney warned the state Supreme Court Thursday. Jim Ash has more.

In 2007, a jury awarded $30 million to baby Aaron Edwards for the severe brain damage he suffered during a botched delivery at Lee Memorial Health System hospital in Fort Myers.

But sovereign immunity protects government agencies from liability greater than $200,000. So the Edwards waited five years for the Legislature to ante up. It agreed to $15 million, but capped attorney fees at $100,000.

Edwards’ attorney Christian Searcy warned justices the decision sets a dangerous precedent.

“Nobody can imagine that if this is allowed to stand, anybody with a serious claim that is going to require a lot of work and a lot of cost expenditure is ever going to take that case.”

Sovereign immunity protects government agencies from damages exceeding 200 thousand dollars. But Deputy Solicitor General Racheal Nordby  argued the Legislature has broad powers when it comes to awarding attorney fees -- and hasn’t been afraid to use it.

“There are tons of examples in the laws of Florida going back years where the Legislature has exercised its discretion and deviated down.”

Searcy acknowledged the Legislature has broad powers, but he said those powers are restrained by the Constitution.