Federal judge denies injunction to block Florida PIP reform
TAMPA, Fla. (Dec. 12, 2012) -– In the first big win for Florida auto insurance consumers since passage of reforms to the state’s personal injury protection system earlier this year, a federal judge has denied an injunction that would have blocked implementation of the law.
In his decision, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Lazzara refused to grant an injunction requested by a group of chiropractors, massage therapists and acupuncturists, finding that the plaintiffs “utterly failed to demonstrate that there is a substantial likelihood they will eventually prevail on the merits.”
The injunction was requested as part of a lawsuit filed against the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation that seeks to overturn H.B. 119. Signed in May by Gov. Rick Scott, the law requires PIP claimants to receive treatment from a doctor or hospital within two weeks of an accident, while proscribing treatment from acupuncture and massage facilities. The law also raises penalties for auto insurance fraud and sets limits on attorneys’ fees.
“While this is just a short-term procedural victory and the case will now proceed to trial, Justice Lazzara has handed down a defeat to the opponents of reform,” R Street Florida Director Christian Cámara said. “This also marks a win for Florida consumers, who stand to benefit from containing the escalating costs in our auto insurance market.”
R Street is a non-profit public policy research organization that supports free markets; limited, effective government; and responsible environmental stewardship. It has headquarters in Washington, D.C. and branch offices in Tallahassee, Fla.; Austin,Texas; and Columbus, Ohio. Its website is www.redesign.rstreet.org.