Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bad faith reform - Senate workshop

It was all very polite, as proponents and opponents debated reform to the "bad faith" laws before the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 22.  The proponents were led by GrayRobinson's George Meros and Charlie Wells, representing the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform. 

"What we are asking of this Legislature is to bring common sense and equity to an area of the law that has gone very, very bad," said Meros.  Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Charlie Wells expressed his concerns with bad faith, saying "I believe that it goes directly to the heart and health of the economy of this state."  Wells is well known for his dissenting opinion in Berges v. Infinity Ins. Co. (Fla. 2005).  See Bad Faith Set-Up: Florida Bar Article.

Meros' recommendations on behalf of the U.S. Chamber are contained in an eight-point plan, which includes the following:
  1. Written offer requirement.  An insurer should not be liable for bad faith if it has not received a written offer to settle.
  2. Reasonable period of time to evaluate.
  3. Protection when faced with multiple claimants.
  4. Eliminate the cause of action under common law, so that the bad faith statute (as reformed by other recommendations) becomes the sole source of an insurer's liability for bad faith.
Meros' recommendations to the Judiciary Committee are available at this link, beginning on the 5th page: Meeting Packet, Senate Judiciary Committee, 2/22/2011.

This summary was prepared by Perry Cone and is posted at

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