Family members of local crime victims unite in opposition to HB 837

It was a historic meeting of local crime victims’ family members, many meeting for the first time on Thursday. They were rallying together in opposition of a proposed bill aimed at the civil court system, which they say puts every person in the state of Florida at risk.

They gathered in front of the Miami Lakes district office of Representative Tom Fabricio who co-sponsored HB 837.

On May 23, 2019, Marlin Goodluck was shot and killed at an apartment complex.

His father was one of those who spoke out Thursday. “It is not just for us, it is for the future people,” said Nathaniel Warren.

Family members of some of the Parkland school shooting victims were there, too.

“This state government champions freedom right?,” asked Amin Chequer, whose daughter, Isabel, was one of the 17 injured during the mass shooting in 2018. “So, if we have a right to challenge a negligent business in civil court, why this law is trying to take away those rights?” he said.

Six-year-old murder victim King Carter’s father, Santonio, said those trying to push the agenda “don’t know the pain.”

He knocked multiple times on Fabricio’s office door. “Ain’t nobody in there,” he said.

Digging into Florida House Bill 837, proponents frame it as “tort reform,” and critics as a legislative gift to benefit insurance companies and to “erode access to justice” leaving small business owners, accident victims, and “everyday citizens” at the mercy of “insurance company whims.”

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