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William Henry PhD – Perspectives – Architect’s REAL Viewpoint

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Just How Litigious Is The State Of Florida?

By William Henry, PhD

One might look at the title of this article and see the question only as asking how many cases of a given type are filed in the State of Florida each year. While that is a valid interpretation, another might see it as asking about Florida’s overall environment for filing certain lawsuits and the price it pays for its legal system.

To begin, perhaps a comparison of two states having similar populations and location – Florida and Texas – might be of help.

A website entitled The Last GENX American undertook research into the number of attorneys in each state per 10,000 residents. It provided the following comparison between Texas and Florida. Note that while Florida ranked a bit higher, each was toward the middle of the Country by the measurement used.

2014 DATA
RANK/STATE/POPULATION/NO. LAWYERS ACTIVE & RESIDENT/NO. LAWYERS PER 10,000 RESIDENTS
20/Florida/19,893,297/68,464/34.4
23/Texas/26,956,958/84,800/31.5

The following table is derived from the Census Bureau estimates for 2015 and the statistics from the Supreme Court of each state revealing the number of civil damages law suits filed for the year ending July 1, 2015. Notwithstanding the disparity in the numbers of attorneys, the rate of damages suits filed is remarkably similar. One might conclude that Texas, with its larger number of attorneys and slightly higher rate of filings, is slightly more litigious than Florida.

STATE/POPULATION/CIVIL FILINGS/RATE PER 10000
Florida/20,271,272/36,484/17.9978839
Texas/27,469,114/49,451/18.0024008

There is, however, the other view of the question as mentioned above. The U.S. Tort Liability Index 2010 prepared by the Pacific Research Institute, San Francisco, provides a snapshot of how the states rank based on the combination of relative monetary tort losses and tort litigation risks. According to the report “[an] optimal tort system provides maximum net benefits to society. An inefficient tort system, on the other hand, imposes excessive costs on society, not the least of which is forgone production of goods and services.” This computation differs to some others in that total state tort caseloads per million dollars of state output is used rather than total civil cases per 100,000 residents on the theory that the former tracks only tort cases, and its dominator is more activity based.

Using this measure provides a substantially different picture of Texas and Florida. The former is 18th and Florida is 48th, with the lower ranking being the more favorable, indicating smaller relative monetary tort losses and tort litigation risks. Only New York and New Jersey fared worse than Florida by these standards.

The latter study suggests that the judicial system in Florida is far more expensive in many respects and a greater burden to its citizens and businesses than are the systems in other states.

bill-henryWilliam Henry PhD is the Principal in Charge of RGA-Design, LLC a full service architectural and interior design firm that has served as the architect of record for over 1,000 projects across the State of Florida (Registration number AA0003523, AR007521). He has lectured and written widely on the above topic. His most recent publication is ‘Return of the Master Builder’ available on Amazon Kindle e Books. Henry’s contact information is whenry@rga-design.com; (813-226-2220 Ext 204) or visit the company web site at www.rga-design .com or www.buildingdoctorfl.com.

Copyright © 2016 REAL Exclusive Magazine www.getrealexclusive.com
Links to this article are encouraged

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