ARTICLE: FABRE V. MARIN: ITS EFFECT ON FLORIDA TORT LAW -- JULY 1, 1994 TO PRESENT Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 1995 Nova Law Review 
Nova Law Review

ARTICLE: FABRE V. MARIN: ITS EFFECT ON FLORIDA TORT LAW -- JULY 1, 1994 TO PRESENT

Fall, 1995

20 Nova L. Rev. 495

Author

John F. Romano * and Rodney G. Romano **

Excerpt

I. INTRODUCTION

The so-called Fabre/Messmer 1 line of cases constitutes perhaps the most poorly reasoned and politically biased decisions in Florida jurisprudence. In these cases, Florida courts seem to abandon fundamental principles of fairness which provide that only those who are given fair notice and opportunity to respond can be legally blamed for a wrongful act. The following article outlines both the Fabre and Messmer decisions, and analyzes those decisions from the defense and plaintiff perspectives. Next, the article surveys subsequent decisions. It notes the impact of these cases on our judicial system and the probable resulting negative public perception of the judicial system's ability to be fair and just.

II. PRECEDENT FLORIDA CASES
 
A. Messmer Came First

The first in this historic line of cases was decided by the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Messmer v. Teacher's Insurance Co. 2 That case arose out of a car crash in which the plaintiff was a passenger in a car driven by her husband. The defendant truck driver was uninsured, but the plaintiff had uninsured motorist coverage in the amount of $ 300,000. The uninsured motorist claim was submitted to arbitration as required by the terms of the Teacher's Insurance Company ("Teacher's") policy. 3

The arbitrators found that the defendant was 20% responsible for causing the accident. They awarded the plaintiff total economic damages in the amount of $ 52,455, and total noneconomic damages in the amount of $ 200,000. 4 Plaintiff's husband was not a party to the ...
 
 
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