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Public Policy & Advocacy

Supreme Court Allows Amendment 3 Waivers

On September 28.2006, the Florida Supreme Court approved an amendment to the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar that would allow plaintiff attorneys to obtain waivers allowing them to charge more for contingency representation than otherwise would be allowed under Amendment 3.

While admittedly a setback for organized medicine, the new Rule does require lawyers to notify the patient, both in writing and orally, of their right to a capped attorney fee and to judicial review of the waiver request. These two provisions should provide some mitigation of the negative impact of the ruling.

Moreover, using the very waiver form approved by the Supreme Court as a template, the FMA has developed its own waiver form that would allow patients to waive their right to unlimited economic damages and provide a cap of $250,000 for such damages. While the FMA form may not be used without explicit FMA approval and has yet to be tested in court, it is an innovative way of using an unfavorable opinion in a positive manner.

For further information on the ruling and its ramifications, please feel free to contact General Counsel Chris Nuland at nulandlaw@aol.com.

Sincerely,
Kay M. Mitchell, M.D., FACP
ACP Florida Governor

Page updated: 10/3/06