January 29, 2014
IN RE: ASBESTOS LITIGATION
ADVANCE AUTO PARTS, INC., et al., Defendants. IRA FLUITT and REGINA FLUITT, Plaintiffs,
PAUL R. WALLACE, JUDGE
1. As an initial matter, the November 4, 2013 Order dismissing Plaintiffs Ira and Regina Fluitt's Complaint is hereby vacated.
2. Whereas Plaintiffs filed the Complaint in this matter on July 19, 2012, alleging, inter alia, that Mr. Fluitt developed lung cancer as a result of wrongful exposure to asbestos;
3. Whereas the Court issued an order that Delaware law applies to all procedural issues in the case and Florida law applies to all substantive issues;
4. Whereas in 2005, the Florida legislature adopted the Asbestos and Silica Compensation Fairness Act (the "Act"),  which changed the common law elements of an asbestos claim under Florida law, 
5. Whereas Defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiffs' Complaint based on a failure to allege certain required elements of their claim;
6. Whereas Plaintiffs argued (a) that no provision of the Act applies to actions filed outside Florida; (b) Delaware procedural rules and therefore Delaware general pleading standard should be applied; and (c) their claims meets Delaware's notice pleading standard;
7. Defendants' Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED without prejudice.
8. The Court, as both parties acknowledge, must apply Delaware procedural law, and thus Delaware's pleading standard governs here. Dismissal is warranted, however, if the Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
9. Under Delaware's notice pleading requirements, a plaintiff need only "state a short and plain statement of the claims showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." But a plaintiff must still plead each of the essential elements of his claim.
10. As this Court has recognized, Florida's Supreme Court determined that the Act fundamentally changed the common law elements of a Florida asbestos claim. Following the Act's effective date, under Florida law, "[a] person who is a smoker may not file or maintain a civil action alleging an asbestos claim . . . based upon cancer of the lung . . . in the absence of a prima facie showing."
11. The Parties do not dispute that Mr. Fluitt is a "smoker, " as that term is defined by the Act. Thus, Florida law requires Plaintiffs to plead each of the essential elements of a prima facie asbestos claim for a smoker. Because Plaintiffs have not met that standard, the Complaint is dismissed.
12. In requiring Plaintiffs to plead the essential elements of a Florida asbestos action, the Court does not alter the Delaware pleading standard. Nor does the Court ignore Delaware's lenient notice pleading standard. Rather, the Court recognizes that the Complaint is insufficient because it fails to state the essential elements of Plaintiffs' claims, which Delaware's pleading standard requires, under Florida's applicable statutory construct.
AND NOW, this 29th day of January, 2014, having considered Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' complaint, the Plaintiffs' response thereto, and the Parties' oral arguments, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendants' Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED. Plaintiffs are hereby granted 30 days leave to re-file the Complaint in conformity with this Order.
IT IS SO ORDERED.