• Asbestos and Silica Compensation Act Limited in Retroactive Applications
  • July 26, 2008
  • Law Firm: Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP - Dallas Office
  • In 2005 the Florida Legislature enacted the Florida Asbestos and Silica Compensation Fairness Act (the “Act”), which made significant changes to causes of action resulting from asbestos exposure.  Under the Act, a claimant must plead and prove an existing malignancy or actual physical impairment for which asbestos exposure was a substantial contributing factor. 

    Plaintiffs filed their actions prior to the adoption of the Act and claim that at the time it was not necessary to establish that any malignancy or physical impairment had already resulted from their contraction of the disease asbestosis.  Plaintiffs challenged the application of the Act on the grounds that the government of Florida has taken from them a personal right in a cause of action for money damages.  The Appeals Court held that Plaintiffs’ causes of action had accrued prior to the enactment of the Act and as such the Act could not constitutionally be applied to require Plaintiffs to plead and prove that any malignancy or physical impairment resulted from their exposure to asbestos.