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Tobacco company hit with $23.6 billion ruling

 
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JasmineE02 View Drop Down
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    Posted: Jul 20 2014 at 12:54pm

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco company hit with $23.6 billion ruling in damages from lawsuit brought by chain smoker's widow

Cynthia Robinson, whose husband died of lung cancer in 1996, was awarded another $16.8 million in compensatory damages Friday, following a four-week trial that left a top Reynolds executive burning mad.

 
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
 
Saturday, July 19, 2014, 11:52 PM

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco company was whacked with a staggering $23.6 billion in punitive damages in a lawsuit brought by the widow of a chain smoker killed by lung cancer in 1996.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

The R.J. Reynolds Tobacco company was whacked with a staggering $23.6 billion in punitive damages in a lawsuit brought by the widow of a chain smoker killed by lung cancer in 1996.

A Pensacola jury also awarded Cynthia Robinson another $16.8 million in compensatory damages Friday, following a four-week trial that left a top Reynolds executive burning mad.

“This verdict goes far beyond the realm of reasonableness and fairness, and is completely inconsistent with the evidence presented,” said company vice president and assistant general counsel J. Jeffrey Raborn.

He vowed to appeal the “runaway verdict” that Robinson’s legal team said was the largest wrongful death payout for a single plaintiff in Florida history.

FEB. 6, 2008 PHOTOCHUCK BURTON/APThe company's vice president and assistant general counsel J. Jeffrey Raborn vowed to appeal the verdict, stating that it goes 'far beyond the realm of reasonableness and fairness.'

“The jury wanted to send a statement that tobacco cannot continue to lie to the American people and the American government about the addictiveness of and the deadly chemicals in their cigarettes,” said Christopher Chestnut, one of Robinson’s lawyers.

Co-counsel Willie Gary said the lawsuit’s goal was to stop tobacco companies — including Reynolds, the nation’s second largest — from targeting young consumers with their ads.

“If we don’t get a dime, that’s OK, if we can make a difference and save some lives,” he said.

Robinson, of Pensacola, sued in 2008 on behalf of her husband, Michael Johnson Sr., who died at 36. He started smoking at 13, and the couple married six years before his death. The hotel shuttle bus driver smoked up to three packs a day for two decades — and he went to his grave with a cigarette in his mouth.

Widow Cynthia Robinson’s legal team said the verdict was the largest wrongful death payout for a single plaintiff in Florida history.COURTESY WCP COMMUNICATIONSWidow Cynthia Robinson’s legal team said the verdict was the largest wrongful death payout for a single plaintiff in Florida history.

“He couldn’t quit,” Cynthia Robinson told Reuters. “He was smoking the day he died.”

The massive jury award was the highest of any individual case brought since a Florida court overturned a $145 billion class action verdict for smokers in 2006.

The ruling stemmed from a trial that ended six years earlier with the jury finding Big Tobacco was negligent, sold defective products and conspired to hide details about health risks. As part of its decision, though, the court ruled smokers and their families filing individual suits would only need to prove addiction and a link between smoking and their deaths.

Gary predicted the stunning payout will stand: “I hope and suspect that we will keep the verdict. The jury sent a message.”

MRRYAN MCVAY/GETTY IMAGESRobinson, of Pensacola, sued in 2008 on behalf of her husband, Michael Johnson Sr., who died at 36.

Reynolds has some legal precedent in its appeal of the jury verdict: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that punitive damages should generally not exceed more than nine times the compensatory figure.

The jury deliberated for 11 hours before returning the compensatory payout of $7.3 million to Robinson and $9.6 million to the couple’s son.

Seven hours later, they returned with the multibillion-dollar punitive award.

With News Wire Services

lmcshane@nydailynews.com


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afrokock View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote afrokock Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 20 2014 at 12:54pm


gaaaaadddaaaaamn!!

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trudawg View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote trudawg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 20 2014 at 1:05pm
Wow, I wasn't aware that the legal team was black-folk, Nice!

Although, it'll get appealed. Large Punitive settlements have been deemed an Unconstitutional violation of Due Process under the 5th Amendment by the Supreme Court.
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callmeDEva View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote callmeDEva Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 20 2014 at 1:11pm
I think I still was in elementary school in 96...but were they linking lung cancer to cigarette smoking then?

I don't see how anyone could sue a tobacco company for getting cancer now. You know what risk you're taking..
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ModelessDiva Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 20 2014 at 1:13pm
Originally posted by callmeDEva callmeDEva wrote:

I think I still was in elementary school in 96...but were they linking lung cancer to cigarette smoking then?

I don't see how anyone could sue a tobacco company for getting cancer now. You know what risk you're taking..

this. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote PurplePhase Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 20 2014 at 1:38pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote afrokock Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 20 2014 at 1:42pm
Originally posted by callmeDEva callmeDEva wrote:

I think I still was in elementary school in 96...but were they linking lung cancer to cigarette smoking then?

I don't see how anyone could sue a tobacco company for getting cancer now. You know what risk you're taking..
actually it was only up until recently when legislation changed to highlight the dangers of smoking on packaging less than ten years ago I think

Most people didn't know that

Furthermore cigarettes were initially marketed as having health benefits and the older generation will tell you how cigarettes were given out with rations during the world war etc etc

It's mighty presumptuous and minimising to state that you know what risk you are taking on a case that is more than a few years old which has only just been ruled upon

Class action suits are not overnight
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote afrokock Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 20 2014 at 1:45pm
And I mean that respectfully
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bunzaveli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 20 2014 at 1:48pm
why are all these judgements in florida ?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote afrokock Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 20 2014 at 1:49pm
Ayo bunz what's the price of tobacco going for these days on the commodities?
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