Thursday, March 7, 2013

RIP ELR.



We've written before about the slow painful demise of the once-mighty economic loss rule, the late 80's legal equivalent of flatbread or, to bring this into 2013, "greek yogurt."

(For insight into why -- all of a sudden -- everyone must constantly be asked whether they would like some quinoa and coconut water with every meal, click here.)

So it's no surprise that, like most things from the 80s, the Florida Supreme Court has decided that it's best to just forget that whole thing ever happened:
Having reviewed the origin and original purpose of the economic loss rule, and what has been described as the unprincipled extension of the rule, we now take this final step and hold that the economic loss rule applies only in the products liability context. We thus recede from our prior rulings to the extent that they have applied the economic loss rule to cases other than products liability. The Court will depart from precedent as it does here “when such departure is ‘necessary to vindicate other principles of law or to remedy continued injustice.’ ” Allstate Indem. Co. v. Ruiz, 899 So. 2d 1121, 1131 (Fla. 2005) (quoting Haag v. State, 591 So. 2d 614, 618 (Fla. 1992)). Stare decisis will also yield when an established rule has proven unacceptable or unworkable in practice. See Westgate Miami Beach, Ltd. v. Newport Operating Corp., 55 So. 3d 576, 574 (Fla. 2010). Our experience with the economic loss rule over time, which led to the creation of the exceptions to the rule, now demonstrates that expansion of the rule beyond its origins was unwise and unworkable in practice. Thus, today we return the economic loss rule to its origin in products liability.
Hooray!

(Next I hope the Supremes address the unwise and unworkable expansion of flatbread well beyond its historic origins...)

BTW Justices Canady and Polston in dissent really get it wrong, as Justice Pariente politely points out.

Or am I totally wrong on this?

I think the dissenting Justices are overdramatizing this ruling but hey, if they truly believe the tort floodgates have been completely opened, there is ample language for plaintiffs to cite in opposition to the inevitable motions to dismiss when you try to tack on a tort to every run of the mill contract case.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

The dissents inadvertently help plaintiffs way more than the majority opinion.

Anonymous said...

The concurrence basically renders the opinion a non-issue; torts are still not allowed in a contractual setting. It just not called the economic loss rule when you move to dismiss. Rather, its well-settled, basic, contract jurisprudence.

Anonymous said...

twenty to thirty years from now will our children lawyers be dropping a tiara condominium on their ass? will this have harry pepper legs?

Anonymous said...

You're right, the dissents are overwrought. You can still bring torts in a contract setting IF you can demonstrate a duty independent of contractual duties or a statutory claim, which was historically the law until all this nonsense got started. Twenty years of idiocy may finally be over.

Anonymous said...

Do other states' tort laws recognize the economic-loss rule in contexts outside products liability or is this a Florida special? If the latter, the FSC is probably correct.

Anonymous said...

Long overdue IMHO.

Anonymous said...

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