Smoking Cancer Lawsuit Results in $20M Verdict Against RJ Reynolds
A Florida jury has hit R.J. Reynolds with a $20 million verdict, ordering the tobacco company to pay compensatory and punitive damages to the daughter of a woman who died of lung cancer after a life of smoking.
The case was part of the so-called Engle progeny tobacco lawsuits, which continue to go to trial in Florida against cigarette makers to determine what damages former smokers may be entitled to receive.
Thousands of Engle progeny cases are pending following a 2006 decision by the Florida Supreme Court, which vacated a $145 billion judgment in a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of an estimated 700,000 smokers. As a result of the decision, class members were able to initiate individual lawsuits and use the liability findings from that trial. Plaintiffs are not required to establish liability against the cigarette makers, but still must prove that their injuries were caused by a smoking addiction.
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Following a three week trial, a Palm Beach Jury awarded a combined $20 million in damages to Gwendolyn Odom, whose mother, Juanita Thurston, died of lung cancer in 1993. Odom was awarded $6 million in compensatory damages and $14 million in punitive damages in the claim against R.J. Reynolds. However, the jury determined that Thurston was 25% responsible for her own death, so Odom will only receive 75%, or about $4.5 million, of the compensatory award.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently rejected a request by tobacco manufacturers to hear an appeal, which challenged the constitutionality of the Engle trial structure. As a result, thousands of individual cases are expected to continue to trial, and several have already resulted in multi-million dollar jury awards.
Following the Odom verdict, and with just two percent of the Engle progeny cases having gone to court, tobacco manufacturers have already been hit with $500 million worth of jury verdicts in the individual trials.
In October 2013, Liggett Group announced a $110 million settlement to resolve virtually all of its Engle progeny cases, but the majority of the claims by the 700,000 Engle progeny smokers are to date unsettled.
JosephineDecember 30, 2016 at 10:08 pm
Am looking for a attorney to suit the tobacco company I have been smoking at the age of if now the doctor says I have COPD and it's going to get worse I need someone to help me fight this battle that I'm going through I'm on medicine that can haul all of my organs so I need your help thank you in advance
lesterJuly 23, 2016 at 4:17 pm
Seeking lawyer for lawsuit against tobacco company due to lung cancer , brain tumor and COPD. please contact me.
angelaJuly 1, 2014 at 12:07 am
I need an attorney who isn't afraid to go up against tobacco companies. I want them to PAY for me to stop smoking!!! I've tried everything! I have emphysema. I'm allergic to the patch. How ironic is that! I've done hypnotherapy...e-cigs...I started when I was eleven years old didn't know any better I am now 50years old and more hooked than ever! I guess sodium Pentathol or ibogain is my last reso[Show More]I need an attorney who isn't afraid to go up against tobacco companies. I want them to PAY for me to stop smoking!!! I've tried everything! I have emphysema. I'm allergic to the patch. How ironic is that! I've done hypnotherapy...e-cigs...I started when I was eleven years old didn't know any better I am now 50years old and more hooked than ever! I guess sodium Pentathol or ibogain is my last resort! BUT WHATEVER IT IS I WANT THEM TO PAY FOR IT. And please no nasty rebuttals about how weak I am you don't know my life or what I've endured.
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