Florida Tobacco Cases

Jurors Hold Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds Accountable for Engaging in 50-Year Conspiracy

October 28th, 2014

Damages Totaling $41.1 Million Returned in Florida Federal Court

Nashville — October 22, 2014 — Attorney Kenneth Byrd of the Nashville office of national plaintiffs’ law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, announced that a jury in federal court in Florida today returned a verdict of $41.1 million against Philip Morris USA Inc. and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company for conspiring for decades to conceal the hazards of smoking and the addictive nature of cigarettes. The jury award consists of $15.8 million in compensatory damages and punitive damages in the amounts of $15.7 million against Philip Morris and $9.6 million against RJ Reynolds. Continue reading »

Jurors Hold Philip Morris USA Accountable for Engaging in 50-Year Conspiracy

September 19th, 2014

A jury in a Florida federal court this week returned a $27,0100,000.14 verdict against Philip Morris USA Inc. In 1958, plaintiff Judith Berger started smoking when she was 14 years old and began smoking a pack a day by age 16. At the trial, evidence was introduced showing that 90 percent of daily cigarette smokers start smoking as teenagers and that the tobacco industry targeted youth for this very reason. The $27 million verdict included a punitive damages award of 20,760,000 dollars and 14 cents.

Read the full details here.

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

July 7th, 2014

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.

Read the full article.

R.J. Reynolds’ Certiorari Petition to the U.S. Supreme Court Denied

June 11th, 2014

The United States Supreme Court today denied R.J. Reynolds’ petition for a writ of certiorari (review) in the federal Engle progeny litigation, along with petitions in nine state-court Engle progeny cases.

Read the full details here.

Jurors Hold Tobacco Companies Accountable For Engaging In 50-Year Conspiracy Of Misrepresenting Dangers Of Smoking Cigarettes, Plaintiffs’ Counsel Announce

April 19th, 2013

Damages Totaling Nearly $32 Million Returned In Two Cases in Federal Court In Florida This Month

Jacksonville—April 19, 2013 – Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, announced that a jury in federal court in Florida yesterday returned a verdict of $5.9 in compensatory damages against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company to Thelma Ruth Aycock for the wrongful death of her husband of 53 years, Richard “Buck” Aycock. Continue reading »

Florida Supreme Court Stubs Out Big Tobacco Appeals of Multi-Million Dollar Verdicts

July 24th, 2011

As reported by Flaglerlive, a major Florida Supreme Court ruling this week against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. is already having ripple effects, with justices rejecting three other industry appeals of multimillion-dollar verdicts. The court declined to hear the appeals, siding with spouses of people who died because of smoking-related illnesses.

Read more on the Flagler Florida website.

Florida Court Upholds $30 Million Tobacco Award

July 19th, 2011

Reuters reports that the Florida Supreme Court upheld a jury’s order that the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co pay nearly $30 million to a woman whose husband died of lung cancer after decades of smoking its cigarettes.

The court issued a brief ruling saying it would not review the product liability award nor entertain any further motions for rehearing. The tobacco company, a unit of Reynolds American Inc, argued the award was excessive.

The ruling could affect thousands of pending cases.

Read more at Reuters.

Florida Ruling Big Tobacco Won Comes Back to Bite it

February 19th, 2011

As reported by the Washington Times, Florida Supreme Court ruling that threw out a $145 billion award against cigarette makers is biting Big Tobacco back, making it dramatically easier for thousands of smokers to sue and turning the state into the nation’s hot spot for damage awards.

The 2006 ruling has helped generate more than $360 million in damage awards in only about two dozen cases. Thousands more cases are in the pipeline in Florida, which has far more smoking-related lawsuits pending than any other state.

Though the justices tossed the $145 billion class-action damage award, they allowed about 8,000 individual members of that class to pursue their own lawsuits. And in a critical decision, they allowed those plaintiffs to use the original jury’s findings from the class-action case.

That means the plaintiffs don’t have to prove that cigarette makers sold a defective and dangerous product, were negligent, hid the risks of smoking and that cigarettes cause illnesses such as lung cancer and heart disease. The plaintiffs must mainly show they were addicted to smoking and could not quit, and that their illness — or a smoker’s death — was caused by cigarettes.

Read the full article on the Washington Times website.