Thomas D. Masterson
I was asked to report on behalf of the Trial Lawyers Section of The Florida Bar regarding their consideration of the issues to be addressed by this
committee. The Executive Council of the Trial Lawyers Section discussed the issues with which we are faced and also considered the proposal submitted by Mr. Grimes. The comments that I was asked to provided related to three issues.
1. With reference to the issue regarding whether court approval should be required, it was the position of the Section that there should be a
requirement for approval. However, unlike the Grimes proposal, the Section felt that if the requirements for waiver that are adopted by the committee are satisfied, there should be a presumption that the waiver is appropriate.
One factor that influenced the Section was the current practice of some members of the medical profession asking patients to waive their right to
trial by jury without the opportunity to seek counsel or obtain court approval. There was also concern that fee sharing arrangements beyond the
approved guidelines and increased fees beyond the usual guidelines require approval under the current system, and including a requirement of court approval seemed consistent with the current requirements.
2. As for the issue of whether there should be a requirement for a client to seek independent counsel prior to a waiver, the Section felt that advising the client of the right to seek the guidance of independent council should be all the is required. It was felt that it should not be necessary for the client to be compelled to seek independent counsel.
3. Lastly, the proposal provided by Mr. Grimes was reviewed, considered and the Section voted to reject this proposal for multiple reasons. It was
viewed as an effort to protect the medical community as opposed to considering the rights of our clients. I would be happy to elaborate on the
concerns that the Section had about specific portions of the proposed rule.
It was a unanimous decision by the Executive Council with reference to each issue considered.
I look forward to seeing everyone next week.
Thomas D. Masterson
Masterson Law Group, P.A.
699 First Avenue North
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Phone: (727) 896-3641