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One of the greatest miscarriages of Florida justice in the past twenty years was when the Florida legislature in 2005 granted the asbestos manufacturers greatest desire and passed the Florida Asbestos and Silica Act.  Despite strong efforts by Anita Pryor and Alan Pickert of Terrell Hogan to preserve the rights and access to court for those Floridians who were injured due to exposure to asbestos,  the legislature passed the draconian asbestos bill in 2005 that resulted in literally thousands of victims being denied access to the Florida Courts to bring a cause of action for their asbestos illness.  

Specifically, the Asbestos Statute requires that in order to file suit in the state of Florida for an asbestos injury, not only does the victim have to be exposed to the deadly asbestos fibers and be diagnosed with an asbestos related illness or cancer, but the victim also has to satisfy certain complex medical restrictions  and not have smoked tobacco products within fifteen years of their asbestos illness.  Furthermore, the legislature said that these new requirements were not only for all Florida asbestos victims going forward but unbelievably for all those victims who had already filed an asbestos lawsuit prior to the enactment of the statute.   In other words, the legislature said the new statute would be applied retroactively to all pending and future cases.

Consequently, over three thousand victims who were diagnosed with an asbestos illness and who had already filed their lawsuits in Florida against the asbestos manufacturers that had caused their asbestos illnesses and cancers were not allowed to continue in the judicial system as they didn’t meet the new stringent medical restrictions or tobacco requirements.

Fortunately, the Florida Supreme Court recently righted this wrong and ruled that the retroactive application of the Florida Asbestos Act is unconstitutional.  The highest Court in Florida ruled that the Florida legislature overstepped  its authority by denying injured Floridians  who had already filed their asbestos lawsuit prior to the enactment of the statute their constitutional rights to have access to courts and the judicial system.    For further details, you can call us at Terrell Hogan or read the Supreme Court decision which may be found by clicking the link below.

http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/2011/sc08-1616.pdf