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Bill to let victims of terrorism sue for damages clears Senate panel

A bill to allow Floridians to sue for damages sustained in a terrorist attack cleared its first Senate hurdle Monday, receiving unanimous support from the Senate judiciary committee.

The bill (SB 996), sponsored by Sen. Joe Negron, creates a civil cause for a person injured by an act of terrorism. Under the Stuart Republican’s bill, a successful plaintiff is entitled to three times the actual damages sustained and minimum damages of $1,000.

Negron said under current law, a person can already sue a terrorist under current law. That, he said, is not “likely a good outcome for a person bringing a claim because they’re not going to be able to collect damages.

“Most acts of terror, when they’re investigated, you find out it’s not just someone singularly involved, it involves a network of businesses and other operatives that make that make that terrorism possible,” he said Tuesday. “I would imagine a circumstance where someone is a victim of a bombing or a shooting, where they could potentially have a claim … against a foreign government or another group would be able to recover damages for injuries.”

A similar House bill (HB 3) cleared its first House committee in December. That measure is sponsored by Rep. Mike Hill, a Pensacola Beach Republican.

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