Florida Tobacco Lawsuit Results in $8 Million Verdict for Family of Smoker
A Florida jury awarded $8 million in damages to the family of a chain smoker who died from lung cancer in 1997. This is the first of thousands of Florida tobacco lawsuits to go to trial since the state Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that each case brought by a smoker or their family against the tobacco industry must be decided individually.
The case involved a lawsuit filed by the 63 year old widow of Stuart Hess, who died when he was 55, after smoking Phillip Morris cigarettes since he was 15 years old.
The verdict was returned yesterday after a two and a half week trial in Fort Lauderdale. The jury awarded $3 million for compensatory damages to the wife and son, as well as $5 million in punitive damages, against Phillip Morris USA, a unit of Altria Group, Inc.
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The jury found that Hess was 58% responsible his cigarette addiction, so the compensatory award may be reduced to $1.3 million. Phillip Morris has also indicated that they will appeal the award of punitive damages.
The case stems from a 2000 award of $145 billion in a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of an estimated 700,000 smokers. However, in 2006, the Florida Supreme Court overruled the verdict and ordered that every smokers’ lawsuit must be decided by a jury on its individual merits.
The appeals court allowed the class action trial’s findings that the dangers of cigarettes were known by the tobacco companies and kept from the public, to stand as long as the smoker or their family filed a tobacco lawsuit by January 11, 2008.
There are currently 8,000 similar Florida lawsuits that are still pending throughout the state, with the next trial scheduled to begin in Broward County today.
JosephineDecember 30, 2016 at 10:25 pm
Why can someone go after the tobacco people and put them out of business why can't I'll also be so much that it was shut the company down I want to be the first to try to do that because my life and my children and my grandchildren should be able to see their Grandma will live out her life without pain and suffering can someone help me
IncognitoOctober 12, 2010 at 12:29 pm
Shut up, Bruce. No one wants to hear your sob story.
TimSeptember 21, 2010 at 2:04 pm
I have recently learned that smokers suit was filed on my fathers behalf. I am told that my Stepmother was first to reply and it is her case. Am I entitled to know who filed the case and the proceedings? Am I entitled to any settlment funds? My father passed in 1994 he had heart disease and copd. Do I have a right to file my on case?
AngieMay 1, 2009 at 1:29 am
Is there any legal recourse for smoking addiction causing COPD/ Emphysema?
BruceApril 22, 2009 at 9:21 pm
i was never told nor had i ever heard of TD, i moved here from the bible belt and life is a little different here, dr diagnosed me with schzophrenia, bi polar, and TD. the way i found out at night my tounge would try to get out of my mounth the it progressed to making sounds, and then sometimes Legs and arm moverment. i looked up involitary movement of the tounge and learned then, Lilly that made [Show More]i was never told nor had i ever heard of TD, i moved here from the bible belt and life is a little different here, dr diagnosed me with schzophrenia, bi polar, and TD. the way i found out at night my tounge would try to get out of my mounth the it progressed to making sounds, and then sometimes Legs and arm moverment. i looked up involitary movement of the tounge and learned then, Lilly that made ziprexa. st the time they were interested in dibitis. so i ran into a brick wall. when i have attacks, they can be mild to volent, not towards people just angry.i have slapped my own face,my body was like someone else was driving buy me.
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