Fla. Gov. Bush Signs Asbestos and Silica Litigation Reform Measure

June 22, 2005

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) has signed into law critical asbestos and silica litigation reform legislation passed by the legislature earlier this year, the American Insurance Association (AIA) reported this week.

“Yesterday’s signing of the asbestos and silica reform bill (HB 1019) marks the successful conclusion of the efforts of AIA and other business and industry representatives to enact legislation that will put the asbestos and silica claims process in Florida back on fair and predictable footing for all parties involved,” said Cecil Pearce, AIA vice president, Southeast Region.

“We expect the new law to favorably impact those jurisdictions overwhelmed with claims from those who do not yet show signs of impairment, allowing the truly sick to move to the head of the line thereby enabling businesses and their insurers to better manage their asbestos and silica claims process.”

HB 1019 (Chapter No. 2005-274) requires those suffering from asbestos- or silica-related illnesses to meet a minimum level of objective medical criteria before filing an action. For those who do not yet show signs of impairment, the statute of limitations that had previously required claimants to file suit within four years of learning that they showed physical signs of exposure will be suspended.

HB 1019 also requires that those who file asbestos-related claims in Florida courts must be Florida residents or must be able to document that their exposure occurred in Florida. In addition, the new law abolishes punitive damages in asbestos and silica cases, allows for collateral source set-offs in asbestos and silica cases, and includes an innocent seller liability provision for asbestos and silica cases.

The law’s effective date is July 1, and applies to any asbestos claim in which trial has not commenced as of that date.


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