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Florida Fourth DCA rules that deceased smoker's statutory survivors were not entitled to SOL tolling for Engle class members because decedent knew of tobacco related illnesses in 1989

On June 21, 2017, in Fanali v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, No. 4D16-67, the Florida Fourth DCA affirmed a summary judgment in favor of the defendant tobacco company on statute of limitations grounds. The decedent tobacco smoker was diagnosed with lung cancer and COPD in late 1989 and died of COPD and coronary heart disease in 1993. The Fourth DCA noted that the 1989 diagnosis of lung cancer and COPD occurred before May 5, 1990, the earliest date that the decedent’s tobacco-related disease or condition could have manifested itself without the decedent being excluded from membership in the class certified in Engle v. Liggett Group, Inc., 945 So. 2d 1246 (Fla. 2006). The Court concluded that the decedent’s statutory survivors could not claim the special tolling period to which Engle class members are entitled if the decedent himself was not an Engle class member.