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Affirmance in Florida Constitution Case
Valerie A. Dondero |
March 16, 2018
The appellate department handled the appeal in Lee Memorial Health System v. Victoria Select Ins. Co., which concerned the constitutional validity of a special law that allowed a public hospital to attach liens to the proceeds of insurance settlements between a patient and the tortfeasor’s insurer. The trial court determined that such laws were invalid as a violation of Article III, section 11(a)(9) of the Florida Constitution. This provision prohibits special laws from creating liens that arise from private contracts. Here, the hospital argued that the special law authorizing a lien did not violate the constitution since it was a public hospital, and its contracts were not “private” for the purposes of Article III. Conversely, the Insurer contended that despite the hospital’s status as a public institution, the lien arose from a contract between a private individual and the hospital, making the contract “private,” and precluding the attachment of liens to settlement proceeds. On appeal, the Second District agreed and affirmed, upholding the trial court’s determination that the special law is invalid and cited to Valerie A. Dondero, of the Miami office’s, recent affirmance in a related case.