Jeffrey P. Gale, P.A. // The Case Against Jeb Bush

greed2.jpgLawyers know best!

Jeb’s running for president of the United States. He has a strong chance of winning.

People who care about the rights of families and individuals should be fearful of a Jeb Bush presidency.

For the next two years, millions of dollars will be spent trying to shape Bush’s image in voters’ minds. Among the themes will be that he, like his brother before him George W. Bush was purported to be, is a compassionate conservative.

Conservative he may be, although ultra conservative is more like it. Compassionate? Not even close.

Jeb Bush served as the 43rd Governor of my state (Florida) from 1999 to 2007. For lawyers who represent individuals and families, they are known as the “hell years.”

While political ads and speeches shape perceptions, a politician’s true character is revealed in the laws he is responsible for creating. Laws are where the rubber meets the road.

By that measurement, Jeb Bush is cold and calculating. Proof of this lies in his handling of Florida’s workers’ compensation system and medical malpractice laws, where power and profits were placed over people.

Florida’s workers’ compensation system was devised some 80 years ago to bring a fair balance between the rights of injured workers and employers. Each gained and lost rights for the greater good.

It remained that way until Jeb became governor. From day one, he and Florida’s right-wing legislature began dismantling the safety net constructed over many years for injured workers. Profit and greed were the motive. By the time Jeb left office eight years later, the system was a hollow shell for injured workers. It became so bad that in Westphal v. City of St. Petersburg (Fla. 1st DCA 2013), Florida’s workers’ compensation system is compared unfavorably to those in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Red States all. (Because it would have been a silly exercise, the 1st DCA did not bother comparing Florida’s system against those in Blue States.) Jeb modeled Florida’s workers’ compensation system after the one installed by his big brother George in Texas when he was that state’s governor. All experts agree that the workers’ compensation systems in Texas and Florida are the most unfavorable in the nation for injured workers. That’s George and Jeb.

One of the most insidious methods Jeb employed to destroy the system was to limit the ability of injured workers to hire lawyers. His handiwork is presently under constitutional attack before the Florida Supreme Court in Castellanos v. Next Door Company, et al. The question before the court is whether Bush’s scheme, which limited the claimant’s attorney to a fee of $164.54 for 107.2 hours of legal work in successfully obtaining workers’ compensation benefits for his client, is constitutional. Here’s the certified question before the court:

WHETHER THE AWARD OF ATTORNEY’S FEES IN THIS CASE IS ADEQUATE, AND CONSISTENT WITH THE ACCESS TO COURTS, DUE PROCESS, EQUAL PROTECTION, AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS OF THE FLORIDA AND FEDERAL CONSTITUTIONS.

A ruling is expected by this summer. People in the know believe that the court will declare Jeb’s scheme unconstitutional.

It won’t be the first time a Jeb Bush law will be declared unconstitutional.

In McCall v. United States of America, a case involving a military veteran whose death was caused by medical negligence, the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional Florida’s arbitrary caps on the amount of money juries can award to surviving family members for pain and suffering resulting from the loss of a loved one by medical malpractice. As the basis for its ruling, the court determined that the “evidence” provided to the Florida Legislature by then-Governor Bush’s Select Task Force on Healthcare Professional Liability Insurance (Task Force Report) (Jan. 29, 2003), was bogus. What Bush & Co. did was manufacture evidence to support desired outcomes. (Think Weapons of Mass Destruction.)

Be concerned, America. Be very concerned.

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Jeffrey P. Gale, P.A. is a South Florida based law firm committed to the judicial system and to representing and obtaining justice for individuals – the poor, the injured, the forgotten, the voiceless, the defenseless and the damned, and to protecting the rights of such people from corporate and government oppression. We do not represent government, corporations or large business interests.

While prompt resolution of your legal matter is our goal, our approach is fundamentally different. Our clients are “people” and not “cases” or “files.” We take the time to build a relationship with our clients, realizing that only through meaningful interaction can we best serve their needs. In this manner, we have been able to best help those requiring legal representation.