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Florida Appeals Court Denies Widow of Mesothelioma Victim

Advocates for victims of mesothelioma and their families are expressing concern and disappointment over a recent ruling by the District Court of Appeal of Florida. In their decision, the court denied the wrongful death claim of a widow who had been married to her husband for nearly forty years. The reason for the denial of the claim was that they had not been married at the time that the injury had occurred.

The case involved John Kelly and his wife Janis. John had worked in construction in 1973 and 1974, and during that time he was exposed to asbestos. In 1976, he and Janis married, and in 2014 he was diagnosed with mesothelioma. He died from the disease one year later, in 2015. During the course of his illness Kelly and his wife pursued litigation against those responsible for his illness and when he died their mesothelioma lawsuit was amended to a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims often seek damages for medical expenses and other damages, including funeral and burial costs and loss of consortium. The defendants in the case moved that the wrongful death claim for loss of consortium be dismissed because the two had not been married at the time that the injury occurred.

The court focused specifically on the issues regarding whether Mrs. Kelly was entitled to a loss of consortium claim, and the jurists were split in their decision. It is important to note that the laws regarding wrongful death claims are statutory, where those regarding loss of consortium are common law. The prevailing judges pointing to the existing precedent regarding where loss of consortium is permitted and where it is not, where the dissenting judge focused on the common sense aspect of a case involving a condition with the long latency period that characterizes mesothelioma.  The court specifically and explicitly did not address the other issues of the wrongful death claim, which the widow will presumably be able to pursue.

Mesothelioma is a challenging condition medically as well as legally, and it is important that those who are faced with this diagnosis are fully aware of all of the resources available to them. Where the courts may not provide relief, there are other options and the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net are here to help you identify those resources. Call us today at 1-800-692-8608 to learn about the $30 billion asbestos trust funds that you may be eligible for, and more.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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