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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Fla Lobbyists may earn millions off claims bills



Bloomberg: Watching over comatose Eric Brody after a South Florida (BEESFL) sheriff’s deputy smashed into the 18-year- old’s AMC Concord in 1998 were his parents, his doctors -- and his lobbyist.

Today, Brody is a 32-year-old paraplegic with three firms trying to persuade lawmakers in Tallahassee to grant him more than the $200,000 that Florida law permits him to collect from jury awards against the state. Today, the House of Representatives may allow Brody $10.75 million. His lobbying team would collect as much as $2.7 million of that.

Opposing him: 23 lobbyists for the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and two units of Fairfax Financial Holdings Inc. (FFH), a Toronto-based insurer. The sheriff’s office and the companies spent $1.2 million from 2009 through 2011 on lobbyists, including two ex-Senate presidents and a former state Supreme Court justice, records show.

Florida lawmakers this year introduced bills to grant such claims for 57 people or their estates, the most in five years, according to legislative records. In the Capitol of the fourth- most-populous state, Brody’s case has become emblematic of these high-stakes battles in which lobbyists and lawyers may pocket millions while arguing about justice for the wrongly imprisoned, for paralyzed adults and for abused children. ...


[Last modified: Monday, March 5, 2012 10:32am]


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