Florida Supreme Court Reinstates $8 Million Mesothelioma Award
It’s been a long and challenging legal journey for mesothelioma victim Richard De Lisle, but after years of court battles saw him awarded $8 million by a jury only to have the 4th District Court of Appeals overturn the ruling, he has finally won. Upon hearing arguments on his behalf, the Florida Supreme Court ruled in his favor and reinstated his multimillion dollar jury award.
Mr. DeLisle’s mesothelioma case ended up setting new legal ground in the state of Florida, as it changed the rules regarding expert witness testimony. His lawsuit claimed that his asbestos exposure came from both his workplace and from having smoked Kent cigarettes, and he named Crane & Co. and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, among others, as defendants. After the jury sided with him and ordered the significant compensation, those two companies appealed the ruling on the grounds that the expert witness testimony should not have been allowed, and the appeals court agreed. DeLisle then took his case to the Supreme Court, which voted 4-3 that a law passed in 2013 by the Florida legislature regarding expert witness testimony unconstitutional violated the separation of powers, and was an infringement on the court’s authority.
Though the legal question strayed far from the issues of interest to mesothelioma patients, it can make a world of difference in the success of their legal claims against asbestos manufacturers. At issue was whether the courts should use what is known as the “Frye” standard or the “Daubert” standard for expert witnesses. The Frye standard relies upon the scientific community for determining whether testimony is valid, while Daubert allows the courts to determine whether the testimony is relevant, providing the judge the authority to act as a gatekeeper of the evidence presented. The justices in DeLisle’s case reversed the Florida legislature having insisted that the courts use Daubert, establishing Frye as the law in Florida and allowing the testimony in Mr. DeLisle’s case to stand.
Mesothelioma impacts every aspect of your life, and understanding its intricacies is a challenge, so you need to know where to turn for help. The Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can guide you through this difficult journey. Contact us today atFREE Mesothelioma Packet