Asbestos and Silica Compensation Fairness Act Challenge
Yesterday’s article on the asbestos Act (ASCFA) was discussed to have been enforced on the 1st July 2005. While the act outlined and governed asbestos claims as to who could file a claim. It looked at perimeters of the claim regarding physical impairment, eligibility, the 2 disease rule and the statute of limitation. It also laid out its application to all cases not at trial stage as at the Act being enforced.
The aspect of the reach of the Act was challenged by attorneys. It was in their opinion that the Act’s far reach into cases already filed before the Acts enforcement date of the 1st July 2005, was unconstitutional. Because the arm of the Act reached beyond its enforceability, which violated the constitutional right of claims made prior to the Acts enforcement. The claims also affected by the Act included those of nonmalignant claims. Of which such cases had been diagnosed and claims had been filed with the court. However, the lawsuits were still in research, discovery or the pretrial phases.
For a time, the challenges posed by attorneys were dismissed. However, after being appealed the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal agreed with the challenge raised by attorneys. As a result in 2011, the Florida State Supreme Court ruled that applying the provisions of the law retroactively, to cases already in process was indeed a violation of constitution of the state of Florida. Including cases that were not at the trial stage at the time of the enactment of the law.
The Florida State Supreme Court ruled that retroactive legislation that impacted on property rights was constitutionally invalid. Subsequently, the court declared that the new law could only be applied to claims filed after the effective date of enactment of the law that is from 2nd July 2005.