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The Florida Statutes

The 2018 Florida Statutes

Title XLV
TORTS
Chapter 774
ASBESTOS-RELATED AND SILICA-RELATED CLAIMS
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F.S. 774.203
774.203 Definitions.As used in this act, the term:
(1) “AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment” means the American Medical Association’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment.
(2) “Asbestos” includes all minerals defined as “asbestos” in 29 C.F.R. s. 1910, as amended.
(3) “Asbestos claim” means a claim for damages or other civil or equitable relief presented in a civil action, arising out of, based on, or related to the health effects of exposure to asbestos, including loss of consortium, wrongful death, and any other derivative claim made by or on behalf of an exposed person or a representative, spouse, parent, child, or other relative of an exposed person. The term does not include claims for benefits under a workers’ compensation law or veterans’ benefits program, or claims brought by a person as a subrogee by virtue of the payment of benefits under a workers’ compensation law.
(4) “Asbestosis” means bilateral diffuse interstitial fibrosis of the lungs caused by inhalation of asbestos fibers.
(5) “Board certified in internal medicine” means a physician who is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine or the American Osteopathic Board of Internal Medicine.
(6) “Board certified in occupational medicine” means a physician who is certified in the subspecialty of occupational medicine by the American Board of Preventive Medicine or the American Osteopathic Board of Preventive Medicine.
(7) “Board certified in oncology” means a physician who is certified in the subspecialty of medical oncology by the American Board of Internal Medicine or the American Osteopathic Board of Internal Medicine.
(8) “Board certified in pathology” means a physician who holds primary certification in anatomic pathology or clinical pathology from the American Board of Pathology or the American Osteopathic Board of Internal Medicine and whose professional practice:
(a) Is principally in the field of pathology; and
(b) Involves regular evaluation of pathology materials obtained from surgical or postmortem specimens.
(9) “Board certified in pulmonary medicine” means a physician who is certified in the subspecialty of pulmonary medicine by the American Board of Internal Medicine or the American Osteopathic Board of Internal Medicine.
(10) “Bankruptcy proceeding” means a case brought under Title 11 of the United States Code or any related proceeding as provided in 28 U.S.C. s. 157.
(11) “Certified B-reader” means an individual qualified as a “final” or “B-reader” under 42 C.F.R. s. 37.51(b), as amended.
(12) “Civil action” means all suits or claims of a civil nature in court, whether cognizable as cases at law or in equity or in admiralty. The term does not include an action relating to a workers’ compensation law, or a proceeding for benefits under a veterans’ benefits program.
(13) “Exposed person” means a person whose exposure to asbestos or to asbestos-containing products is the basis for an asbestos claim.
(14) “FEV1” means forced expiratory volume in the first second, which is the maximal volume of air expelled in one second during performance of simple spirometric tests.
(15) “FVC” means forced vital capacity, which is the maximal volume of air expired with maximum effort from a position of full inspiration.
(16) “ILO Scale” means the system for the classification of chest X rays set forth in the International Labour Office’s Guidelines for the Use of ILO International Classification of Radiographs of Pneumoconioses.
(17) “Lung cancer” means a malignant tumor in which the primary site of origin of the cancer is inside of the lungs, but the term does not include an asbestos claim based upon mesothelioma.
(18) “Mesothelioma” means a malignant tumor with a primary site in the pleura or the peritoneum, which has been diagnosed by a board-certified pathologist, using standardized and accepted criteria of microscopic morphology or appropriate staining techniques.
(19) “Nonmalignant condition” means any condition that can be caused by asbestos or silica other than a diagnosed cancer.
(20) “Nonsmoker” means the exposed person has not smoked cigarettes or used other tobacco products on a consistent and frequent basis within the last 15 years.
(21) “Pathological evidence of asbestosis” means a statement by a board-certified pathologist that more than one representative section of lung tissue uninvolved with any other disease process demonstrates a pattern of peribronchiolar or parenchymal scarring in the presence of characteristic asbestos bodies and that there is no other more likely explanation for the presence of the fibrosis.
(22) “Predicted lower limit of normal” for any test means the fifth percentile of healthy populations based on age, height, and gender, as referenced in the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment.
(23) “Qualified physician” means a medical doctor, who:
(a) Is a board-certified pathologist licensed to practice and actively practices in this country who performed services requested or authorized by a physician who:
1. Has conducted a physical examination of the exposed person or, if the person is deceased, has reviewed all available records relating to the exposed person’s medical condition;
2. Is actually treating or has treated the exposed person, and has or had a doctor-patient relationship with the person; and
3. Is licensed to practice and actively practices in this country; or
(b) Is a board-certified oncologist, pulmonary specialist, or specialist in occupational and environmental medicine who:
1. Has conducted a physical examination of the exposed person or, if the person is deceased, has reviewed all available records relating to the exposed person’s medical condition;
2. Is actually treating or has treated the exposed person, and has or had a doctor-patient relationship with the person; and
3. Is licensed to practice and actively practices in this country.
(24) “Radiological evidence of asbestosis” means a quality 1 chest X ray under the ILO System of classification (in a death case where no pathology is available, the necessary radiologic findings may be made with a quality 2 film if a quality 1 film is not available) showing small, irregular opacities (s, t, u) graded by a certified B-reader as at least 1/1 on the ILO scale.
(25) “Radiological evidence of diffuse pleural thickening” means a quality 1 chest X ray under the ILO System of classification (in a death case where no pathology is available, the necessary radiologic findings may be made with a quality 2 film if a quality 1 film is not available) showing bilateral pleural thickening of at least B2 on the ILO scale and blunting of at least one costophrenic angle.
(26) “Silica” means a respirable crystalline form of silicon dioxide, including, but not limited to, alpha, quartz, cristobalite, and trydmite.
(27) “Silica claim” means a claim for damages or other civil or equitable relief presented in a civil action, arising out of, based on, or related to the health effects of exposure to silica, including loss of consortium, wrongful death, and any other derivative claim made by or on behalf of an exposed person or a representative, spouse, parent, child, or other relative of an exposed person. The term does not include claims for benefits under a workers’ compensation law or veterans’ benefits program, or claims brought by a person as a subrogee by virtue of the payment of benefits under a workers’ compensation law.
(28) “Silicosis” means nodular interstitial fibrosis of the lungs caused by inhalation of silica.
(29) “Smoker” means a person who has smoked cigarettes or used other tobacco products on a consistent and frequent basis within the last 15 years.
(30) “Substantial occupational exposure” means employment for an extended period of time in industries and occupations in which, for a substantial portion of a normal work year for that occupation, the exposed person did any of the following:
(a) Handled raw asbestos fibers;
(b) Fabricated asbestos-containing products so that the person was exposed to raw asbestos fibers in the fabrication process;
(c) Altered, repaired, or otherwise worked with an asbestos-containing product in a manner that exposed the person on a regular basis to asbestos fibers; or
(d) Worked in close proximity to other persons engaged in any of the activities described in paragraphs (a)-(c) in a manner that exposed the person on a regular basis to asbestos fibers.
(31) “Veterans benefits program” means a program for benefits in connection with military service administered by the Veterans’ Administration under Title 38 of the United States Code.
(32) “Workers’ compensation law” means a law respecting a program administered by this state or the United States to provide benefits, funded by a responsible employer or its insurance carrier, for occupational diseases or injuries or for disability or death caused by occupational diseases or injuries. The term includes the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, 33 U.S.C. ss. 901-944, 948-950, and the Federal Employees Compensation Act, chapter 81 of Title 5, United States Code, but does not include the Act of April 22, 1908, the Federal Employers Liability Act, 45 U.S.C. ss. 51 et seq.
History.s. 3, ch. 2005-274; s. 105, ch. 2006-1.