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a reflection on lawyer-legislator ethics February 11, 2017

Posted by Bradley in : governance , add a comment

The Florida House of Representatives features on its website quite prominently a Public Guide to Florida House of Representatives Rules Changes with a subtitle of “Ushering a New Level of Transparency and Accountability Revolutionizing State Government. Most of the document relates to lobbying- for example legislators should not fly on private planes owned by lobbyists or corporations that employ lobbyists (and Rule 15.3 of the House Rules specifies that the ban applies even were the representative to pay for the flight). But perhaps there are some other issues they might concentrate on.
Rule 15.2 of the House Rules states:

The Integrity of the House. A member shall respect and comply with the law and shall perform at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and independence of the House and of the Legislature. Each member shall perform at all times in a manner that promotes a professional environment in the House, which shall be free from unlawful employment discrimination.

I am not sure how promoting legislation that could be seen as conducive to a Representative’s personal financial interests as a personal injury lawyer, especially legislation that is drafted so ambiguously as to open up a wealth of litigation possibilities, can possibly be seen as promoting public confidence in the integrity of the House. But perhaps that’s just me.

proposed florida abortion statute February 10, 2017

Posted by Bradley in : regulation , add a comment

The Miami Herald reported on a move in the Florida Legislature by Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, a personal injury lawyer with the Graill Law Group in Vero Beach, Florida in an article with the title: “If you regret having abortion, proposed law would let you sue the doctor years later” . The Bill allows a woman “who suffers emotional distress as a result of a physician’s failure to obtain informed consent” (under the statute) to sue the physician for damages up to ten years after the procedure, even where there is a signed informed consent form. The buill says the claim would not be for medical malpractice and the rules on medical malpractice would not apply.
If this is a good idea, which I doubt, why not apply the same idea to other medical procedures that seem to be the source of emotional distress and other psychological problems and where people are induced into undergoing the procedures by unrealistic hopes about the difference to their lives that the procedures will make? Here I am thinking, of course, of cosmetic surgery. Everywhere you go in South Florida you see encouragements to undergo cosmetic procedures. Even when I go to the dentist I am faced with posters advertising fillers. And we know that cosmetic surgery can be expensive and lead to non-financial distress and disappointment. In the cosmetic surgery context informed consent is undermined by pervasive advertising of an endless range of products from skin creams to botox as well as adverts for surgery. So why is that not a priority for Florida lawmakers?