Articles Posted in Florida Supreme Court

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Respondent, the representative for the estate of Phil Felice Marotta, filed an action as an Engle progeny plaintiff against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, an Engle defendant, asserting that Marotta’s addiction to Reynolds’ cigarettes caused his death by lung cancer. The jury found Reynolds liable on Respondent’s strict liability claim and awarded total compensatory damages of $6 million. Reynolds appealed the final judgment, and Marotta cross-appealed the trial court’s decision to preclude the jury from considering punitive damages on the product liability claim. The Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed. The district court then certified a question to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court answered the rephrased question in the negative, holding that federal law does not implicitly preempt state law tort claims of strict liability and negligence by Engle progeny plaintiffs. The Court approved the Fourth District’s decision related to the preemption issue but quashed the decision below to the extent that it held that Respondent was precluded from seeking punitive damages. View "R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Marotta" on Justia Law

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After Plaintiff contracted peritoneal mesothelioma, he sued Union Carbide Corporation (Defendant), claiming that his disease was caused by his exposure to an asbestos product designed and manufactured by Defendant. The jury returned a verdict for Plaintiff, finding that Defendant was liable for Plaintiff’s damages, in part, under theories of negligence and strict liability defective design and failure to warn. The Third District Court of Appeal reversed. The Supreme Court quashed the Third District’s decision and remanded to the Third District with directions that the judgment be reinstated, holding (1) the Third District improperly applied the Restatement (Third) of Torts to Plaintiff’s strict liability defective design claim; and (2) the Third District improperly reversed the judgment for the failure to warn claim based on the trial court’s failure to instruct the jury on the learned intermediary defense. View "Aubin v. Union Carbide Corp." on Justia Law