FPCA Homeowners Division: Florida Supreme Court Finds 2005 Asbestos Lawsuit Restrictions Unconstitutional
Jul 8, 2011
Florida Property and Casualty Association Homeowners Division Members:
In rulings issued today, July 8, 2011, the Florida Supreme Court found that the Florida Legislature acted unconstitutionally in 2005 by placing new restrictions on lawsuits filed by asbestos exposure victims.
Specifically, the 2005 Legislature addressed these claims with the enaction of the Asbestos and Silica Compensation Fairness Act (“ASCFA”), which applied retroactively to all claims other than those already in litigation and raised the burden on claimants. The ASCFA enumerated various and specific elements of a prima facie case and established that a claimant must establish a prima facie showing of the enumerated elements before being permitted to bring a claim. Subsequently, ASCFA was challenged on Constitutional grounds and struck down by the Florida Supreme Court because the retroactive application of the ASCFA violates the due process clause of the Florida Constitution.
During Florida’s 2011 Legislative Session, the ASCFA was proposed as a model to create the “Sinkhole Compensation Fairness Act” in an effort to control the cost of sinkhole tail claims–those that are made subsequent to the effective termination date of the occurring policy period–by weeding out questionable claims and ensuring that only real sinkhole claims qualify for consideration.