An Order granting a temporary injunction against Florida’s Chapter 2012-197, Laws of Florida (2012 PIP Act or “the Act”) was issued on March 15, 2013 in the Circuit Court for the Second Judicial Circuit of Florida. The Plaintiffs were comprised of (only and possibly prematurely) chiropractic physicians, massage therapists and acupuncturists, challenging the constitutionality of the recent change to Florida’s PIP Laws. The court found that the new Act violated Article I, Section 21 of the Florida Constitution (access to courts)
The Plaintiffs in that law suit argued before the Court that the new Act as revised severely limits future payments. The Plaintiffs argued that the Act was damaging to the Plaintiff’s ability to contract and earn a living; and was not rationally related to a legitimate public policy; violated the separation of powers; and violated the people’s right to access the courts. In fact, the Court went on to comment that the No-Fault Law which was passed in 1971 was an example of an experiment with socialism and that it severely limited a claimant’s ability to seek compensation for damages caused by a wrong doer and in essence granting the wrongdoer an immunity from certain civil liability — in exchange for purchasing insurance to cover medical expenses and loss of income. The court reasoned that under the then circumstances, the Florida legislature was providing a reasonable alternative to common tort recovery. Those in favor of the prior PIP statute argued its’ value because it would provide a quick source of payments for medical care and loss of income despite the question of fault. It was theorized that this would in turn lighten the court’s burdens and reduce the cost of insurance to consumers.
The question presented in the case at bar apparently tested the “outer limits of constitutional tolerance”. Circuit Court Judge Terry T. Lewis concluded that it does. The court considered that the new Act severely limits what can be recovered under the policy for an injured party who does not receive initial services or care within 14 days, or you did not have an emergency medical condition. Therefore the Court determined that as to the sections requiring a finding of an emergency medical condition, as a condition precedent for the payment of PIP or that prohibit payment for the services of acupuncturists, chiropractors and massage therapists — the temporary injunction was granted.
Please see the case of Robin A. Meyers, DC, et. al., Plaintiffs vs. Kevin M. McCarty, in his official capacity as the Commissioner of the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, Defendant, Case No. 2013CA 73 in the Circuit court of the Second Judicial Circuit in and for Leon County, Florida.
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