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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

McCollum, Thrasher push litigation caps



State Sen. John Thrasher said his effort to institute $50 million litigation caps for attorneys who pursue cases on behalf of the state is not related to his special election.

In that race, Florida's powerful trial lawyer lobby spent big bucks trying to defeat Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, and admitted it was involved in race-baiting flier that warned of intimidation at the voting booth.

Asked directly if this legislation is related (retribution?) for the election, Thrasher said no way. "I don't think it has a lot do with it," he said.

The straight-faced remark drew smirks. Behind Thrasher stood Florida Chamber of Commerce lobbyist David Daniel, whose organization spent good money in help elect Thrasher.

At the press conference, Attorney General Bill McCollum labeled the effort (SB 712 and HB 437) his top legislative priority.

A version of the legislation passed the House and Senate in 2009 but the differences were never reconciled. Whether it passes this time will test the strength of the wounded Florida Justice PAC.

The trial lawyers association issued a statement opposing the profit caps, saying it tied the hands of future attorneys. "It is dangerous to discuss limitations on the state of Florida's access to the courthouse and ability to secure full and complete justice," the statement read.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 1:14pm]


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