Update on April 1st Hearing on PIP Injunction
The text below is from the group that put won the Injunction on the new PIP law. This Injunction is not a victory. Right now the Florida Legislators are meeting to discuss completely getting rid of PIP. The Legislators said they will replace PIP with mandatory BI coverage instead (to spite the people who filed this new PIP law).
Win the battle (get new PIP declared unconstitutional).
Lose the war (lose PIP completely).
Good afternoon. We hope you are all well. We just wanted to follow-up and provide you a report of the events of our Emergency Motion to Vacate the State’s Automatic Stay yesterday in Tallahassee in front of Judge Lewis. Judge Lewis provided us with a very fair hearing which lasted more than twice as long as it was originally scheduled for. The Judge took the Motion under advisement, so we don’t have any ruling yet, but we will share it with you as soon as it is issued.
We were pleased to have Robin Myers, A.P., in attendance at the hearing, as well as Jonathan Walker, LMT., and Erick Frank, D.C., all of whom attended as potential witnesses. On the other side were three attorneys from the Office of Insurance Regulation, as well as two attorneys from Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office. No one from FCA, FJA, or any other party attended.
At the hearing, we reviewed the law with Judge Lewis and presented him with 63 affidavits that were filed earlier that day. We reviewed highlights of the facts supporting our position from exemplary excerpts from these affidavits, and Dr. Erick Frank, D.C., provided live testimony, doing an excellent job highlighting the multiple problems and unfair limitations caused by the challenged legislation’s benefit limitation to $2,500.00 for PIP Coverage, absent the undefined “emergency medical condition” requirement, the nebulous characteristics of which Dr. Frank articulated perfectly.
Dr. Frank further testified that, because of this limitation, patients were not using health insurance and that they were simply stopping treatment before ever reaching “maximum medical improvement,” and before a permanent condition could be diagnosed, which is a prerequisite to allowing any patient access to the courts. Dr. Frank also testified that he was irreparably harmed, not just because he lost business and income, but because he was losing referrals and sustaining damage and destruction of the doctor- patient relationship.
Dr. Frank responded brilliantly to the OIR’s cross examination, and it was clear that they were off base. The State called only one witness, Sandra Starnes, the person at the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. On her direct examination from the OIR Counsel, she testified that lifting the stay to change the horrible state of affairs imposed by the challenged legislation would be an “administrative nightmare.” On cross-examination by Mr. Lirot, she admitted that the “statistics” upon which the 2012 PIP Act were based were provided entirely by the insurance industry, and no oversight or independent verification was ever undertaken by the OIR of this self-serving data. She also testified that insurance companies can ask for rate increases at any time for any reason, even daily. She testified that an injunction would harm PIP insurance carriers and cause them time and expense.
Critically, she did not testify that “they” would suffer irreparable harm.
In the end, Luke and I believe it was clear to the Court that we are representing all Floridians and that the State OIR is only concerned with helping PIP insurance carriers. One wonders what the PIP insurer profits are and whether it was ever necessary for the State to approve the rate increases of the past, based on data supplied by the PIP insurers themselves. We remain cautiously optimistic regarding the outcome of this hearing.
In closing, we again thank you for your help and support and value your future continued support and activism. We also want to thank Kevin Johnson and Vivian Mahoney, who have worked tirelessly to support the cause. As long as all of us remain united and dedicated, we feel that this horrible, destructive and unfair legislation will meet an appropriate end.
Luke Lirot and Adam Levine
Managing Partner & Founder, The Florida Legal Advocacy Group
Adjunct Professor of Law, Stetson University College of Law
Vice President & Medical Director, Security Defense Legal Insurance Co.
1180 Gulf Boulevard, Suite 303, Clearwater, Florida 33767
(727) 512 – 1969 [Telephone]
(866) 242 – 4946 [Facsimile]
Our attorneys are back in court fighting for us
TODAY at 11:00 AM