Wrongful Death Appeals and Damages
West Palm Beach lawyers know that wrongful death cases in Florida usually involve damages. What are compensatory damages? What are punitive damages? What Florida statute(s) should be applied to determine what damages should be awarded? If you are involved in wrongful death lawsuit in Florida, you may want to read a recent Fourth DCA opinion, Philip Morris USA Inc & R.J Reynolds Tobacco Company v. Stanley Martin & Estate of Carole Martin.
Here, the defendants appeal a final judgment awarding the plaintiff just under $3.7 million in compensatory damages and $650,000 in punitive damages. The defendants argue that the trial court erred by refusing to apply the post-1999 version of section 768.73, which bars successive awards of punitive damages. The defendant’s argument is that the post-1999 version of the statute applies because plaintiff’s cause of action arose after 1999. The opinion states that “in civil cases, the applicable version of a statute is ordinarily the one in effect when,the cause of action arose.” In wrongful death actions like this one, the cause of action accrues on the date of the decedent’s death. To read the entire opinion, click here.