On February 22, 2017, Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed an order dismissing a surviving spouse’s claim for loss of consortium damages in a wrongful death action because the surviving spouse was not married to the decedent at the time he was injured. After lengthy briefing and several hearings, Stuart Weinstein and Laura Eggnatz obtained the dismissal in the trial court on behalf of one of the Firm’s clients. Stuart subsequently defended the trial court’s dismissal at oral argument before the 4th DCA. The 4th DCA held that although Florida’s Wrongful Death Act clearly abrogates the common law rule prohibiting an individual from recovering damages where injuries result in a person’s death, the Wrongful Death Act does not clearly and explicitly overrule the common law rule that a spouse must be married to the decedent at the time of injury in order to recover damages for loss of consortium as part of a wrongful death action. In this case, the decedent alleged exposure to asbestos two years before his marriage, and that he succumbed to an asbestos-related condition many years after the marriage.
This opinion, the first of its kind in Florida, now aligns the type and amount of damages potentially awardable to a surviving spouse in a Wrongful Death Action with the limitations of awardable consortium damages where an injured person does not die as a result of pre-marital injuries.
Shapiro Blasi represents manufacturers, suppliers, retailers and premises-owner defendants in asbestos and other toxic tort litigation throughout the state and federal courts of Florida, and regularly serves as co-counsel in high-exposure cases throughout the nation.
To learn more about Mr. Weinstein, please click here.
To learn more about Ms. Eggnatz, please click here.
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Shapiro, Blasi, Wasserman & Hermann, P.A., with offices located in Boca Raton, Florida, has practice areas in Commercial Litigation, Labor and Employment, Construction Litigation, Chinese Drywall Litigation, Bankruptcy and Creditor's Rights, Real Estate Transactions, Real Estate Litigation, Business Transactions, Family Law, Wills, Trusts and Estates, and Appellate Matters. We represent clients throughout Florida and nationwide.