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PIP Injunction Appealed to First DCA

As expected, Judge Lewis’s recent injunction against Florida’s new PIP law has been appealed to the First District Court of Appeals (1st DCA). As part of the appeal, Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation has been granted an automatic stay of Judge Lewis’s injunction. The automatic stay is allowed by Florida law when a state agency (such as in this case) appeals a decision.

Many interested third parties have petitioned the 1st DCA to appear as amicus curiae (friend of the court) in the case. Any person or entity can petition a court and offer an argument on a case if they feel they have information which is relevant to a case. So far the Florida State Oriental Medical Association, the Personal Insurance Federation of Florida, and the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) have all requested the 1st DCA allow them to file briefs (written arguments) with the Court.

The Personal Insurance Federation of Florida is a recently formed group run by Michael Carlson, whose founding members include Allstate, Progressive, and State Farm. According to their website, this group works with the legislature, governor, state regulators, and businesses to make Florida “a better place in which to insure a vehicle or a home.” As for NAMIC, they are a trade association representing numerous insurance companies whose platforms include tort reform and maximizing profits for their insurance company members.

The automatic stay means that Judge Lewis’s ruling preventing insurance companies from limiting PIP payments to $2,500 and requiring them to pay for acupuncture and massage therapies is now on hold. The 1st DCA, however, has given the State of Florida until April 20, 2013, to show why their appeal should not be dismissed “for lack of jurisdiction.” In Florida, an appeal is only allowed in certain circumstances, and the 1st DCA believes that Judge Lewis’s temporary injunction is not an order that can be appealed at this time.

If the 1st DCA is correct, and the State cannot appeal the injunction, Judge Lewis’s temporary injunction will stand. Attorney Marcus J. Michles, II is in Tallahassee this week as the legislature meets to consider changes to Florida’s car insurance laws in light of Judge Lewis’s recent ruling. Over the next several days representatives from across the State will be addressing proposed legislation to modify car insurance in 2014. We will keep you updated as more developments occur at the 1st DCA and in Tallahassee.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, the lawyers at Michles & Booth are here to assist you in understanding your rights, and helping to ensure that the at-fault party compensates you for your loss. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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