Widow appeals determination of damages by timing of asbestos exposure

25 Apr 2017 by under Legal, News

480px Florida Supreme Court Seal 2014 100x100 Widow appeals determination of damages by timing of asbestos exposureIn February, Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeals broke away from precedents set by other states, ruling Janis Kelly could not receive damages for the loss of her husband’s companionship after he died in 2015 from mesothelioma because prior cases in the district  had established that claims start for -related disease when symptoms appear.

Specifically, it ruled that she could not bring claims against defendants -Pacific Union Carbide Corp. because under common law loss of consortium, the parties must be married when the injury occurs to recover damages. Kelly has appealed the ruling to the Florida Supreme Court, according to Law360.

The Fourth District Court of Appeals seemed to not want to allow an avenue for a spouse to marry into the cause of action or else “as long as a couple is married one day before an injured partner dies, the surviving spouse could recover damages back to when the decedent was first injured, well before they were married.”

However, Kelly’s appeal to the Florida Supreme Court hinges on Judge Carole Taylor’s dissent that the Fourth District’s decision is “the first time any court has held in a reported opinion that the common law requirements of a consortium claim barred a spouse from asserting a statutory claim for wrongful death where the injury occurred before the marriage.”

The case holds significant importance because asbestos-related diseases usually develop decades after the original exposure occurs, Kelly maintains. For example, mesothelioma is a deadly cancer caused by asbestos that affects the lining of the heart, lungs or abdomen and can take 30 to 40 years after exposure to develop.


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