When a person sues the State of Florida, there's a limit on how much they can recover unless the Legislature approves what is known as "Claim Bill." In one case, a law firm worked for years to obtain a large verdict for a brain-damaged man, and spent considerable time and money getting the Legislature to approve the $15 million award through the Claim Bill process. When the Legislature approved the Claim Bill, they limited the amount that could be paid to the attorneys to less than 1% of the recovery ($100,000), even though the family had agreed to pay 25% and wanted to abide by their contract. This meant that the law firm would actually lose hundreds of thousands of dollars due to the significant costs and time they had invested in the case. Creed & Gowdy filed an amicus brief (acting as a "friend of the court") in the Supreme Court of Florida to support the contract rights of the parties. As a practical matter, no person seriously injured by the negligence of a State employee would ever find representation if the Legislature had the unilateral right to void a fee agreement and tell attorneys after-the-fact that their services were rendered pro bono. Consistent with our arguments, the Court held (4-3) that while the Legislature has complete discretion to approve or deny the Claim Bill, it can't impair the preexisting contract rights between an attorney and client.
Read the opinion here.
Our client, Meredith Johnson, and attorney Bryan Gowdy sat down with First Coast News to discuss the progress of the unconstitutional "tampon tax" law suit filed last summer, after a measure to end the tax was unanimously approved Monday by the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee. Watch the interview:Proposed bill seeks to eliminate 'Tampon Tax'
Click here for more information on the law suit.
The Florida Supreme Court found that a medical malpractice arbitration agreement between our client and the Petitioners is void because it selectively included provisions from the Medical Malpractice Act that were only favorable to the doctors, going against the legislative intent of the Act. Jessie Harrell completed briefing for this case and Bryan Gowdy presented oral argument. Read the opinion here.
Senator Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, proposed a sales-tax exemption on the sale of feminine hygiene products, which is similar to the House bill filed last month by Representative Katie Edwards, D-Plantation. Upon consideration during the 2017 legislative session, the bills will take effect January 1, 2018 if successful. To read more about the Tampon Tax Senate proposal, click here.
Jacksonville Area Legal Aid has announced its selection for the Partners in Justice Spotlight and we are proud to announce that Creed & Gowdy Appellate Law Firm has been featured. With over a decade of support given to JALA through pro bono case representation and case request analysis, Creed & Gowdy is honored with this selection. Bryan Gowdy, as a former JALA Board of Directors member, has dedicated many hours of service to JALA. He has also presented appellate practice training sessions for legal service staff and pro bono attorneys. To read more about the Partners in Justice Spotlight, click here.