reynolds tobacco

Ya gotta love Florida juries… $23.6 bn awarded to family against tobacco giant Reynolds

The New York Times reports that they plan to appeal.

The case is one of thousands filed in Florida after the state Supreme Court in 2006 threw out a $145 billion class action verdict. That ruling also said smokers and their families need only prove addiction and that smoking caused their illnesses or deaths.

Last year, Florida’s highest court re-approved that decision, which made it easier for sick smokers or their survivors to pursue lawsuits against tobacco companies without having to prove to the court again that Big Tobacco knowingly sold dangerous products and hid the hazards of cigarette smoking.

The damages awarded to Robinson after a four-week trial came in addition to $16.8 million in compensatory damages awarded Thursday.

Robinson individually sued Reynolds in 2008 on behalf of her late husband, Michael Johnson Sr., who died in 1996. Her attorneys said the punitive damages are the largest of any individual case stemming from the original class action lawsuit.

The verdict came the same week that Reynolds American Inc., which owns R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, announced it was purchasing Lorillard Tobacco Co., the country’s No. 3 cigarette maker, in a $25 billion deal. That would create a tobacco company second only in the U.S. to Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc., which owns Philip Morris USA Inc. and is based in Richmond, Virginia.

 

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