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A Florida Jury Awards Widow More Than $23 Billion in Punitive Damages in a Lawsuit Brought Against Tobacco Maker, R.J. Reynolds, Parker Waichman LLP Comments

Port Washington, NY (PRWEB) July 25, 2014

Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm dedicated to protecting the rights of consumers comments on a recent tobacco lawsuit in which a Florida jury awarded the widow of a smoker $23.6 billion in punitive damages. Cynthia Robinson brought the lawsuit against R.J. Reynolds, which manufactures Kool brand cigarettes. The case is Cynthia Robinson v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and was brought in 2008 in the Florida First Circuit Court, Escambia County, Florida; Case Number 2008 CA 000098.

Mrs. Robinson brought the lawsuit on behalf of her now-deceased husband, Michael Johnson Sr. who chain-smoked cigarettes and allegedly began smoking at the age of 13, according to a Time reported dated July 21, 2014. The lawsuit, considered one of the so-called “Engle Progeny,” also alleges that the cigarettes smoked by Mr. Robinson were both defective and unreasonably dangerous. According to a report issued by the Pensacola News Journal, dated July 20, 2014, Mr. Johnson became addicted to cigarettes, dying of lung cancer in 1996.

For its part, R.J. Reynolds denied the allegations and has indicated that it will appeal the verdict, according to the Time report.

The case was, at one time, one of thousands of tobacco claims to arise from the Engle v. Liggett Group Inc. case, a large class action lawsuit filed on behalf of Florida citizens who suffered from smoking-related illnesses in 1994 (Case No.: No. SC03-1856, Florida Supreme Court). In 2000, a jury returned a verdict for the Engle plaintiffs, including $145 billion in punitive damages. In 2004, an appellate court overturned the jury’s decision and reversed the award. In 2006, the Florida Supreme Court upheld the appellate court decision and de-certified the class; however, the Supreme Court ruled that members of the original lawsuit would be allowed to file individual lawsuits against tobacco companies using the findings from the Engle case that included that cigarette smoking causes cancer, that nicotine is addictive, and that tobacco companies sold defective and unreasonably dangerous cigarettes.

“We are happy that the justice system continues to recognize that cigarettes are dangerous,” said Gary Falkowitz, Managing Attorney at Parker Waichman LLP. “These verdicts should be sending a strong message to the tobacco industry.”

Parker Waichman LLP is a leading personal injury law firm that represents plaintiffs nationwide. The firm has offices in New York; New Jersey; Florida; and Washington, D.C. For more than two decades, Parker Waichman LLP has assisted thousands of clients in receiving fair compensation for injuries resulting from defective drugs, medical devices and other products. Free case evaluations are also available by calling 1 800 LAW INFO (1-800-529-4636).

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Source: PRWeb
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