On March 15, 2013, Circuit Judge Terry Lewis issued a temporary injunction prohibiting insurance companies from acting and enforcing major portions of Florida’s new PIP laws. His granting of the motion for a temporary injunction stops portions of the new anti-consumer PIP law from going into effect.
This law substituted the medical care recommended by doctors and overruled their medical judgment with what is in the best interests of the insurance companies. These laws took effect on January 1, 2013. The Court specifically found that the Plaintiff’s would suffer an irreparable harm if the injunction was not entered.
Additionally, they established that they had no adequate legal remedy available other than seeking a restraining order and that there was a substantial likelihood that they would succeed on the merits of the injunction and it was in the public’s best interest to grant the temporary restraining order. The Court ruled that the Plaintiffs have shown irreparable harm and that there was no adverse consequence to the public interest in maintaining the status quo, Florida’s PIP laws as they were before January 1, 2013, if the injunction was issued.
The Court addressed whether there was a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of their fight to have the Statute declared unconstitutional. The Court found that Florida’s new PIP Statute violated Article I Section 21 of the Florida Constitution which states:
“…the Court shall be open to every person for redress of any injury, and justice shall be administered without sale, denial or delay.”
The Court felt that there is a reasonably likelihood that they would succeed as the new PIP Statute substantially limited the rights of Floridians and took away significant rights by making it harder to file lawsuits in certain cases.
The Court ended by stating that “the Plaintiff’s Motion is Granted as to those sections of the law which require finding of emergency medical condition as a prerequisite to payment of PIP benefits or that prohibit payment of benefits for services provided by acupuncturists, chiropractors and massage therapists. In all other respects, the Motion is Denied.”
To see a copy of the Court Order click here.
To review a Notice of Appeal click here.
By the Court making these findings about the likelihood of success of the actual injunction, it set the stage for invaliding the entire Statute. This was a positive sign for all Floridians, who have not had their insurance rates lowered as promised by supporters of the new statute, but yet had the benefits lowered from $10,000.00 to only $2,500.00. While this Court’s ruling takes out some of the more onerous parts of Florida’s new PIP Statute, there are still many others still in place that are very anti-consumer and only seek to harm Floridians but increase the profits of big insurance companies.
As for now the defense has appealed the judge’s ruling and we are awaiting their decision as to uphold the temporary restraining order, reverse it or send it directly to the Florida Supreme Court for them to rule on the judge’s order. We will keep updating this blog as to any new developments.
If you have any questions regarding Florida’s new PIP Statute or the Court’s ruling, please call the law firm of Christopher Ligori & Associates at 877-444-2929.