NOTE: Medical-Malpractice Contingency-Fee Caps: A Big Victory for Florida's Voters and Tort Reformers? Maybe Not. Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2008 University of Miami Law Review
University of Miami Law Review

NOTE: Medical-Malpractice Contingency-Fee Caps: A Big Victory for Florida's Voters and Tort Reformers? Maybe Not.

April, 2008

University of Miami Law Review

62 U. Miami L. Rev. 913


Michael Cristoforo*


I. Introduction
With continually rising health-care costs and constant news reports about attorneys bringing perceivably ridiculous lawsuits, such as the McDonald's coffee case, 1 it is no mystery why there is a concern for the future of the medical industry and a general distrust of lawyers, juries, and the legal system. 2 In 2004 Florida placed a proposed amendment ("Amendment 3") on the election ballot that limited the contingency-fee percentage an attorney could recover in a medical-malpractice action. While many voters saw Amendment 3 as a perfect way to lower their medical costs and, at the same time, keep "greedy lawyers" 3 from taking advantage of medical-malpractice victims, it is highly unlikely that they adequately considered the potential repercussions of their affirmative votes. But not too long after voters passed Amendment 3 in November 2004, 4 and much to the dismay of the medical profession, those sneaky lawyers were at it again. Lawyers found a way to get around the restriction: "They ask clients to waive their rights under the amendment, allowing the attorneys to collect higher fees." 5 This idea of an intelligible waiver has caused a debate between the medical and the legal communities. 6

In this note, I will set forth the current law as it stands based on Amendment 3, including the legal claims made by all parties on both sides of the issue, and I will use an economic analysis to analyze the benefits and costs of having a negotiable contingency fee by permitting a ...
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