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Senate committee upholds Crist's veto on malpractice exemption

Here's a measure that's been off the radar: The Senate Regulated Industries Committee rejected an attempt by Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, to revive his bill that would have limited the liability of licensed engineers, architects and other design professionals from negligence suits after it had been vetoed by Gov. Charlie Crist last year.

Negron's bill, SB 288, said that for a licensed engineer, architect, surveyor, mapper, interior designer and landscape architect to be liable for malpractice and negligence, the design error must have caused personal injury or damage to property. The proposal was the same as SB 1964 which was vetoed by Crist on June 1 last year. The measure was designed in response to two court decisions. The committee rejected it on a vote of 9-4.

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R.L. Beary

This bill would have corrected an errant court decision which created a unique "double-jeopardy" situation for licensed architects and engineers. It had wide bi-partisan support in both houses last year but the trial attorneys and builders looking for more people to share the exposure in lawsuits managed to get it killed. Another sad day for a lot of small business owners who just want to be treated fairly. By not covering the veto or deliberations, the media has allowed them to have cover. Greed won out over merit and all of those voting no should be held accountable. A doctor's liability is limited in many cases, even if they are at fault. Design professionals have no such protection and the exposure is disproportionate. How would you like it if someone could ignore a contract with you just because you have a license?

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