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Justices To Hear Asbestos Dispute In March

The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

In a dispute that has drawn attention from business and trial-lawyer groups, the Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments March 6 in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed by a man who said he suffered mesothelioma because of exposure to asbestos in cigarette filters and other products.

The Supreme Court split 4-3 in July on whether to take up the case and issued an order Friday setting the date for oral arguments.

Plaintiff Richard DeLisle went to the Supreme Court after the 4th District Court of Appeal ruled in favor of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Crane Co., a manufacturer accused of exposing DeLisle to asbestos in gaskets.

The appeals court ruling came after DeLisle had won an $8 million verdict in the Broward County case. Along with exposure in the gaskets, DeLisle alleged exposure in filters of Kent cigarettes he smoked in the 1950s.

R.J. Reynolds is a successor company to the manufacturer of Kent cigarettes. The appeals court ruled that testimony of three of DeLisle's expert witnesses should not have been admitted in circuit court.