Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) April 24, 2014 - The Florida legislature is soon to vote on a bill to place restrictions on lawsuits against nursing homes.
The bill would protect passive investors from lawsuits related to care of nursing home residents. It would require evidentiary hearings in cases in which residents pursue punitive damage claims against homes. It would also place penalties on nursing homes that don't pay judgments against them, including possible revocation of operating licenses.
Tampa nursing home abuse attorney Robert Joyce offers his thoughts on the bill's provisions.
“I'm always wary of bills that might restrict an injured person's ability to recover damages,” he says, “but this one seems well-intentioned. It’s meant to curb the activity of some Florida nursing home attorneys who have made a habit of targeting investors, and even vendors, who might have very little involvement, if any, in the operations of the homes. Supporters say the provision will attract more investment in nursing homes, which may be true. As long as the specific language is clear that only passive investors are protected from lawsuits, I think patients will still be protected.
“As for the penalties, I definitely welcome that provision,” Mr. Joyce continues. “When a judgment is entered against a nursing home due to negligence or abuse, they need to pay those damages – period. If they do not, they will face a series of penalties up to license revocation. I don't predict nursing homes being put out of business by this law. I predict injured patients getting the compensation they lawfully deserve.”
The sponsor of the measure, Rep. Matt Gaetz, said that seniors-advocacy group AARP, trial lawyer group the Florida Justice Association and the Florida Health Care Association all had input into the bill.
“The fact that trial lawyers and the AARP were involved is encouraging,” adds Mr. Joyce. “All in all, I expect the bill to pass and have a positive impact on nursing home patients and operators in Florida.”
Joyce and Reyes Law Firm, P.A.
307 S Hyde Park Ave
Tampa, FL 33606
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