A single Florida law firm filed 8,400 lawsuits in one county’s small claims court last year as part of an insurance-related “cottage industry”, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.
According to the story, the Simoes Davila law firm filed 8,404 lawsuits in Volusia County small claims court last year after filing only 257 cases in 2016. Though August of this year, the firm was responsible for 56 percent of Volusia County small claims lawsuits. The story says the surge came from the state’s personal injury protection insurance system, plus the practice known as “assignment of benefits,” in which the lawyers are not even representing the injured person. The president of the Personal Insurance Federation of Florida says the system has created “whole cottage industry of law firms that have sprung up over several decades.”
The president of the Florida Justice Reform Institute said the “point behind the litigation is to get big attorney’s fees fighting over low dollar amounts. Unfortunately for your typical consumer of insurance, it means higher insurance premiums because of endless litigation.” According to the story, one lawsuit resulted in about $40,000 in attorneys’ fees and only $790 to clients.