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Florida Supreme Court to Review Asbestos Case


The Florida Supreme Court recently agreed to review an appeal seeking to reinstate an $8 million verdict against a tobacco company and an industrial manufacturer in an asbestos case. The lawsuit was filed by a man who allegedly developed mesothelioma, a cancer of the outer lining of the lung and chest as well as the abdominal wall, from exposure to cigarette filters and gaskets that the companies manufactured 60 years ago.

Richard DeLisle says that the gaskets used by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (formerly called Kent) and Crane Co. contained asbestos. Additionally, DeLisle says that the cigarette filtered he smoked in the 1950s also contained asbestos.

What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a human carcinogen that causes deadly diseases, such as asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer. Asbestos minerals are composed of durable fibers that are resistant to fire and many chemicals, which is why manufacturers often incorporated it into their products. It was commonly used in construction materials, automobile parts and other products.

According to the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, in the 1950s Kent used one of the most deadly forms of asbestos, called crocidolite asbestos, in its cigarette filters. Every time a smoker inhaled one of those cigarettes the microscopic asbestos minerals penetrated the lung tissue. Researchers say that this caused chronic inflammation, which resulted in cellular mutations that lead to cancer and mesothelioma.

While cigarette smoking on its own does not cause mesothelioma, studies show that cigarette smokers who are exposed to asbestos are significantly more likely to develop asbestos-related lung cancer.

Florida Asbestos Laws

Florida has several laws related to asbestos, including air quality regulations and asbestos removal requirements. The state also has a law specific to asbestos litigation, called the Asbestos and Silica Compensation Fairness Act. It was intended to reduce the number of asbestos cases filed in state courts against successor corporations (companies that have replaced older companies) that have never manufactured, sold or delivered asbestos products. Specifically the law limits the amount that claimants can recover from allegedly innocent successors.

The $8 Million Lawsuit

A Broward County jury awarded DeLisle $8 million in damages, but an appeals court overturned that verdict. The appellate court ruled that expert testimony from two doctors should have been blocked because the trial court did not have enough information to approve or disapprove them as expert witnesses. The doctors had testified that asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma.

In his review petition before the Florida Supreme Court, DeLisle argued that the appeals court applied the wrong standard for admitting expert testimony. If the state Supreme Court agrees with his assessment then the $8 million verdict could be reinstated. 

Contact Us Today

Contact an Orlando personal injury attorney at The Pendas Law Firm today for a free consultation if you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, or another asbestos-related disease, after being exposed to asbestos. We will help you recover the compensation that you deserve.

The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the West Palm Beach, Tampa, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Fort Myers, Daytona Beach and Bradenton areas.



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