Daytona Beach Personal Injury Lawyers
Free Consultations 386.258.1622

Florida Supreme Court settles DCA conflict, rules that 1999 amendments to punitive damages statute applies in Engle progeny wrongful death actions in which the decedent died after the effective date of the amendments

On November 18, 2021, in Sheffield v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, No. SC19-601, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed a Fifth DCA decision holding that the 1999 amendment to Fla. Stat. 768.73, which presumptively precludes an award of punitive damages against a defendant in a civil action if “punitive damages have previously been awarded against that defendant in any state or federal court in any action alleging harm from the same act or single course of conduct for which the claimant seeks compensatory damages,” applies in Engle progeny wrongful death actions in which the decedent died after the effective date of the amendments. The Fifth DCA had certified conflict with the First District Court of Appeal’s decision in R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Allen, 228 So. 3d 684 (Fla. 1st DCA 2017), the Second District Court of Appeal’s decision in R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Evers, 232 So. 3d 457 (Fla. 2d DCA 2017), and the Fourth District Court of Appeal’s decision in R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Konzelman, 248 So. 3d 134 (Fla. 4th DCA 2018), each of which applied the pre-amended version of the statute in similar wrongful death actions. In a dissenting opinion, Judge Labarga argued that the plaintiff’s

Categories: