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Florida Court Rejects Appeal in Cigarette Death Case Because of Failure to Object During Trial

If a Florida wrongful death case goes to trial, one party ends up with an unfavorable result. In that case, the losing party may appeal the decision. But if an appeal is made, the party has to have a clear understanding of the issues it can raise—because if it failed to raise the issue before, the issue may be waived, and the party may be stuck with the result.

In a recent case, a Florida appeals court considered whether an issue could be raised on appeal that the defendants raised before—but not during—the trial. In that case, a man brought a wrongful death claim against two cigarette companies after his wife’s death. The case went to trial, and the jury found in the man’s favor, awarding him $460,000 against each defendant. The defendants appealed the decision, arguing in part that there was improper expert testimony.

The expert testified about the defendant’s use of ammonia in an attempt to increase the addictiveness of cigarettes. The trial court had allowed the expert, a historian, to testify about the history of the defendants’ efforts to increase the addictiveness of cigarettes. The court did not allow the expert to give an opinion on the chemistry of tobacco. However, on appeal, the defendants argued that the expert’s testimony went beyond a historical opinion by testifying that adding ammonia to cigarettes increases their addictiveness.

The appeals court found that the defendants failed to raise that specific issue to the trial court. The defendants did raise the issue in a motion before trial, but the trial court waited to make a decision on the issue until trial. Yet, when the expert was testifying at trial, the defendants did not object on that basis. Therefore, the court found that the defendants failed to preserve the issue, and that issue could not be raised on appeal.

Preserving an Error for Appeal

In Florida, to raise an issue on appeal, the issue and the legal argument have to be raised to a lower court first. If a trial court does not rule on a motion before trial, the party raising the issue must object during the trial to preserve the issue for appeal. This means that in order to raise an issue on appeal, a party must raise the issue to the trial court, or the issue will be waived.

Contact a Florida Personal Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages. The Florida wrongful death attorneys at Cecere Santana are committed to providing dedicated representation to residents of Fort Lauderdale and other cities throughout the region. We represent individuals in personal injury cases, homeowner’s and property claims, workers’ compensation cases, and immigration proceedings. Our attorneys work tirelessly for our clients to pursue maximum recovery in their cases, and we can do the same for you. To set up a consultation, call (800) 753-5529 or visit our website at

More Blog Posts:

Court Finds Golf Cart Accident Was Covered Under Plaintiff’s Insurance Policy, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published February 9, 2018.

Court Finds Student Attending School in Another State Is Covered under Parents’ Florida Insurance Policy, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published January 10, 2018.

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