Lieff Cabraser Heimann and Bernstein

Tobacco’s Costly Legal Waiting Game Takes $20 Million Hit

Jordana Douglas was less than enthused when she learned she had been picked to sit on a jury to decide whether a Delray Beach, Florida, woman was justified in blaming R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. for her mother’s death from lung cancer. “OK, well that seems a little unnecessary,” the 19-year-old West Palm Beach resident said of her initial reaction to lawsuit. Roughly three weeks later, the University of Florida student said she was appalled by overwhelming evidence of the decades-long campaign of lies and deceit cigarette-makers waged to hook generations of smokers. Joined by five fellow jurors, she last week awarded 63-year-old Gwen Odom a whopping $20 million — by far the largest verdict ever awarded by a Palm Beach County jury in a case against Big Tobacco and one of the top verdicts in the state.

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