According to a story on Law.com, the 4th District Court of Appeal in Florida, has ruled the state’s 2005 “Asbestos and Silica Compensation Act” unconstitutional. The law barred claimants with non-malignant lung diseases and less than a 20 percent loss in breathing capacity from suing. The law also barred claimants suffering from lung cancer, who did not also have asbestosis and diminished breathing capacity, from suing. The court ruled the entire statute unconstitutional.
One provision of the act applied the standards set up in the act retroactively to cases already filed in court. Judge Gary Farmer wote in the decision that the Act “may not constitutionally be applied to eliminate the existing vested rights in the lawsuits pending when the act became effective” in 2005. In effect, those who got sick before the law was passed had rights that had already accrued before the law went into effect, such that the legislature’s act of making the law retroactive made the statute unconstitutional.
Another example of tort reform at work. Tort reformers routinely take away rights of every day citizens, by pushing laws like the one cited above. Laws that they know trample rights the constitution gives to you and I. The next step is that the tort reformers then want to monkey around with the courts (appointment of judges. etc.), so that judges like the ones on the 4th Circuit who review these unconstitutional laws will rule that there is nothing wrong with trampling the constitutional rights of the citizens of this great country.
This result was right and just, and protects average citizens – the tort reformers must be fuming.