The Cook Group Legal Litigation Attorneys

Florida Supreme Court – Wrongful Death Damages

Ripple v. CBS Corp.

May 9, 2024

Big decision yesterday from the Florida Supreme Court in Ripple v. CBS Corporation, et al. The Court unanimously held that a spouse who married the decedent after the injury can recover damages as a “surviving spouse” under Florida’s wrongful death law. The court rejected the argument that the common law “marriage before injury” rule bars such claims. However, the Court stated that in situations where it appears that the surviving spouse’s conduct amounts to an attempt to marry into a wrongful death claim, “Nothing in our decision today prevents juries from considering the timing and duration of a couple’s marriage when evaluating a claim for [such] damages….”

Yesterday's decision will have a direct impact on future survival claims for loss of consortium from surviving spouses, and indirectly on claims of surviving children and other heirs, particularly in the toxic tort realm and other causes of action alleging a latent disease or injury.

For more information or questions regarding Ripple’s decision or other recent developments in the toxic tort, product liability, catastrophic injury, and environmental litigation landscape please email Hanson Horn at Hanson Horn is a trial attorney with The Cook Group and Managing Partner of the firm’s Fort Lauderdale office where his practice focuses on product liability, toxic tort, environmental claims, and property and casualty defense litigation. He contributes significantly to the firm’s New York practice and is also licensed in Louisiana and Mississippi