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Floridians May Weather This Recession Better Than Previous Two

Sean Snaith

Also, tort reform legislation targets ‘plague of frivolous lawsuits’ across state

Florida is on the cusp of a recession, according to University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith. In a recent article on the UCF Today website, Snaith said the impact shouldn’t be anything like what happened in 2020 or the housing collapse in the late 2000s.

While there is no escape from the recession, Snaith said Floridians won’t suffer like they did during the previous two.

In his quarterly Florida and Metro forecast, released in February, the director of UCF’s Institute for Economic Forecasting said the recession may actually provide some relief for residents and businesses. He cited as examples an end to rapidly increasing housing costs and alleviating supply chain issues. 

The recession also will help the Federal Reserve in its efforts to bring down inflation, Snaith said. 

“It means the Fed will not have to raise interest rates as high as they otherwise would if the economy was still growing at the pace that it was in 2020 and 2021, when inflationary pressures were much stronger,” he said in the UCF Today article.

“The result is that the trade-off we would typically see between lower inflation and higher unemployment rates won’t be as large as it historically has.”

Legislative activity

The Florida state legislature convened March 7 for its 2023 session. The Florida Retail Federation has been following bills that would affect its membership.

FRF has supported the tort reform legislation that was signed into law on March 24. The package limits frivolous lawsuits and brings balance to the Florida judicial system, according to Scott Shalley, FRF president and CEO. Previously, the state was considered the fifth worst legal climate in the nation.

“We are grateful to have strong leaders in Florida who have moved to combat the plague of frivolous lawsuits,” Shalley said. “Costly, unjust litigation is extremely harmful to retail businesses, costing them millions, putting jobs at risk and forcing them to increase costs on consumers just to break even. 

“With this legislation, we’re bringing justice back to the justice system, increasing protections for both businesses and consumers. 

The FRF stated the passage of this bill will benefit all Florida businesses, particularly through the following measures:

  • It reduces the statute of limitations to file a negligence claim from four years to two years.
  • Creates a uniform and transparent process for the admissibility of evidence to a jury when calculating actual medical damages in a personal injury or wrongful death action – this will allow the parties to present the actual medical costs rather than the inflated costs associated with “letters of protection.”
  • When an action is brought against the owner of a property or business by a third party who was lawfully on that property and was injured by the criminal act of a third party, such as a negligent security action, the jury will be required to consider the fault of all persons who contributed to the injury – not just the premises owner.
  • Except for cases dealing with medical negligence, it changes Florida’s comparative negligence system from a “pure” comparative negligence system to a “modified’ comparative negligence system. That means if a plaintiff is found to be more than 50 percent at fault for his or her injury, he or she may not recover damages from any defendant.

For more information about Snaith and his background, click here.

To read more market profiles from The Shelby Report, click here.

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