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Yearly Archives: 2017

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Forbes Radio – America’s Best Lawyers Interview with R. Hugh Lumpkin

Wed May 3rd, 2017 on     Articles,    

As heard on “Forbes Radio” Channel on American Airlines, December 2004 ……………………………… Summary: There was a time when the insurance industry was relatively easy to understand and navigate. But today, all that has changed. Companies are finding it increasingly difficult to not only deal with their insurance carriers regarding claims and payouts, but even to identify which insurance products they need the most.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Punitive Damages

Wed May 3rd, 2017 on     Articles,     Brenton N. Ver Ploeg

In 1893, when Florida sat at the tail end of Henry Flagler’s railway and before the state had commercial importance or many insurers of its own, it was hard for Floridians to get the attention of out-of-state companies. Those who sold insurance policies were apparently no exception. The Legislature’s reaction to this difficulty began a pro-consumer tradition that, then and now, placed Florida’s Insurance Code among the most aggressive in the country. This article is a short synopsis of some of its most important pro-consumer provisions. Attorneys Fees An individual insurance policy issued for delivery in Florida comes with a free and valuable addition you can’t buy even at a price — a right to compel an insurer who wrongly resists a payment due its insured to pay not only the benefit, but his or her attorneys fees as well. This right, which Floridians are fortunate enough to take for granted, is not only rare among the 50 states, but levels the playing field between insurers and consumers in a way that consumers and their counsel in most other states can only envy. The absence of such a simple provision, in fact, is often said to have spawned years of legal maneuvering in California designed to secure by judicial decision the right to attorneys fees enjoyed by Florida’s policyholders for over a century. Such fees make possible the litigation of cases otherwise economically prohibitive, so that a consumer need not abandon a policy dispute because the cost of litigation far […]

Junk Science

Tue May 2nd, 2017 on     Articles,    

In an attempt to incite righteous anger and induce change in the nation’s educational standards, the late Carl Sagan often lamented the American public’s profound scientific illiteracy, which by even conservative measures is estimated to include ninety percent of the population. This sobering statistic suggests that many decisions in our increasingly technological society are being made without the requisite scientific understanding — decisions that influence critical social issues from Sagan’s educational focus, to politics, to commerce. And law. Once limited to a few high-profile courtroom battles between large corporations, scientific disputes are more common in courts today because scientific and technological advances permeate — and in fact drive — our society. As law and science converge ever-more frequently, our society is arriving at a critical juncture: Litigation raising sophisticated scientific concepts is expanding to include not only large corporations, but small businesses and even individuals, as well. Additionally, everyday activities are subject to higher levels of legal scrutiny than ever before in areas as diverse as surfing the Internet (copyright and trademark), business conduct, land ownership (environmental impact) and eating alar on apples or breathing second-hand smoke (public health). Consequently, juries and judges are increasingly being asked to consider questions involving matters of science, which, distressingly for them (and the parties whose fates are at stake), are often completely foreign. One complicating factor is that the void in scientific knowledge is rapidly filled with “junk science” or pseudo-science: generally facile and inaccurate explanations for phenomena with perfectly rational, if less […]

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