Our Record-Setting Results

At Schlesinger Law Offices, P.A., Winning Is a Tradition

Schlesinger Law Offices, P.A. is a firm steeped in tradition. For more than 60 years, we have continuously yielded important verdicts and winning results for our clients. View some of our multi-million dollar results below.

  • $37,851,701

    Tobacco Product Liability

    Read moreless
  • $32,750,000

    Medical Malpractice

    Read moreless
  • $14,407,617

    Car Accident

    A Miami-Dade jury has awarded $14.5 million against Geico to a former chiropractor who was severely injured in a highway collision with an uninsured motorist.

    Jurors sided with Dr. David Zucker and his wife on Monday in awarding $14.5 million for past and future lost earnings, medical expenses, pain and suffering. Zucker suffered permanent spinal and urologic injuries in the collision near the Golden Glades interchange in December 2004. The award included $2.5 million to his wife and passenger, Carrie Zucker, for loss of consortium. She was pregnant at the time.

    The Zuckers were represented by Crane Johnstone and Charles Patrick of the Schlesinger Law Offices in Fort Lauderdale in the trial before Judge John Schlesinger.

    Miguel Gonzalez collided with Juan Chirino, who was driving an 18-wheel tanker. The impact sent Gonzalez’s vehicle careening across three lanes of traffic before crashing head on into Zucker’s car.

    Gonzalez was uninsured, while Chirino was underinsured. Carrying uninsured motorist benefits, the Zuckers filed a claim against Geico, their insurer. The couple sued after Geico refused to pay.

    The jury found Gonzalez fully responsible for the accident, which put Geico on the hook for the award.

    GEICO was represented by James Clark of Clark, Robb, Mason, Coulombe, Buschman & Charbonnet in Miami. Clark said GEICO plans to appeal

    Read moreless
  • $10,500,000

    Tobacco Product Liability

    Read moreless
  • $9,154,198

    Tobacco Product Liability

    Fort Lauderdale, FL—Jurors awarded more than $9.1 million, including $3 million in punitive damages, to a Florida widow for the role they concluded the nation’s two largest tobacco companies played in a smoker’s cancer and death. Oshinsky-Blacker v. R.J. Reynolds, et al., 2008-CV-025841.

    Friday’s punitive award came a day after jurors handed down a $6.1 million compensatory verdict finding R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris liable for the 2000 death of Dennis Oshinsky, 60. Notably, the decision included a finding that both companies were liable on conspiracy grounds, despite the parties’ stipulation there was no direct link between Reynolds cigarettes and Oshinsky’s alleged nicotine addiction, smoking-related cancer, or death.

    Oshinsky, a Florida merchant who allegedly smoked Philip Morris’ Marlboro cigarettes for 37 years, died 7 years after being diagnosed with smoking-related lung cancer that spread to his brain, and a month after being diagnosed with a second type of lung cancer not usually associated with cigarettes. His wife, Marilyn Oshinsky-Blacker, sued Reynolds and Philip Morris, claiming they conspired to hide the dangers of smoking she says ultimately hooked her husband and led to his death.

    The case is one of thousands of similar Florida lawsuits against U.S. tobacco companies. They arise from a 2006 Florida Supreme Court decision decertifying Engle v. Liggett Group Inc., a class-action tobacco case originally filed in 1994. Although the state’s high court ruled Engle cases must be tried individually, it found plaintiffs could rely on certain jury findings in the original verdict, including the determination that tobacco companies had placed a dangerous, addictive product on the market and had hidden the dangers of smoking. To rely on those findings, individual Engle progeny plaintiffs must establish a causal link between nicotine addiction and smoking-related disease. To establish liability on conspiracy grounds, a plaintiff must prove the smoker relied on fraudulent statements made in furtherance of the conspiracy.

    Friday’s decision caps a 14-day, two-part trial involving issues ranging from the circumstances surrounding Oshinky’s death to the tobacco companies’ modern-day conduct.

    After the trial, one of Oshinsky-Blacker’s attorneys, Scott Schlesinger, of The Law Offices of Sheldon J. Schlesinger, P.A., told CVN he was generally happy with the outcome. “We were able to show that lies costs lives, that the truth matters, and that the reason they were lying was that it sustained sales,” Schlesinger said.

    Neither attorneys for the defense nor tobacco company representatives could be reached for comment.

    Phase I: Oshinsky’s Smoking and the Role of Reynolds

    Central to the week-long trial on Engle class membership were the role Oshinsky’s smoking-related lung cancer played in his death and Reynolds’ responsibility in the case. Although both sides acknowledged smoking caused Oshinky’s 1993 lung cancer, which spread to his brain and was treated with radiation and lung-removal surgery, the sides disputed what caused his death in 2000. Meanwhile, plaintiffs claimed “Marlboro Man” ads touting the safety of filtered cigarettes led Oshinsky to smoke the brand for decades, ultimately causing his first bout of cancer.

    During Tuesday’s closings, Womble Carlyle’s Geoffrey Beach, representing Reynolds, reminded jurors the company’s cigarettes were not directly linked to Oshinsky’s alleged nicotine addiction or death. He also challenged the conspiracy charge by noting the Philip Morris “Marlboro Man” ad Oshinsky described never existed. “Plaintiff’s own experts confirmed companies weren’t making health claims on filters,” Beach said.

    As to the cause of Oshinsky’s death, Shook Hardy’s Kenneth Reilly, representing Philip Morris, said evidence established Oshinsky’s 1993 bout with smoking-related lung cancer was successfully treated, while physicians diagnosed his 2000 lung tumor as bronchioalveolar carcinoma, or BAC, a type of lung cancer not typically associated with smoking.

    Reilly contended evidence proved the BAC ultimately killed Oshinsky a month after the diagnosis. “How do we know it’s from the BAC?” Reilly asked. “Because you heard it from an oncologist, a specialist [in cancer treatment].”

    However, plaintiff’s attorneys contended Oshinsky’s prior bout with smoking-related cancer rendered it harder to treat his subsequent lung cancer and fatally weakened his immune system. During Tuesday’s closings, Schlesinger highlighted medical records painting a poor prognosis for Oshinsky following the 2000 cancer diagnosis. “His overall sickened condition from smoking-related disease rendered him a very poor candidate for any sort of treatment to fix him,” Schlesinger said.

    Schlesinger also reminded jurors of expert testimony concluding Oshinsky died largely because his earlier treatment for smoking-related cancer permanently weakened his immune system.

    As to the conspiracy claims, Schlesinger pointed to years of Philip Morris ads that prominently featured the “Marlboro Man” cowboy and filtered cigarette marketing as the hook upon which Oshinsky allegedly relied. “You’ll read the ads talking about ‘Only the taste comes through,'” Schlesinger said. “What is the implication that only the taste comes through? That is, none of the cancer or none of the bad stuff comes through.”

    Schlesinger contended Reynolds was liable on conspiracy grounds based on its participation with Philip Morris in the industry-wide scheme to hide smoking’s hazards. “That’s why Reynolds is caught up in it. Their business benefitted from being part of the conspiracy, just like Philip Morris did,” Schlesinger said, after highlighting thousands of documents implicating both Reynolds and Philip Morris in the scheme. “Were one to break ranks from the conspiracy, it would fail and the truth would come out.”

    Jurors deliberated for more than a day before reaching their verdict. The compensatory award was more than half of the $10 million Oshinsky-Blacker’s attorneys requested for her wrongful death claim during closings.

    After the trial, Schlesinger told CVN a direct link between a tobacco defendant’s product and a smoker doesn’t matter for purposes of conspiracy liability in Engle. “It’s really irrelevant. If you’re a conspirator that’s culpable for committing a conspiracy, the effect of which is to kill your customers by keeping them smoking, it doesn’t matter which cigarette you smoked.”

    However, Schlesinger noted attorneys will sometimes include only the defendant whose products are directly linked to a smoker as a matter of litigation efficiency. “I think the cases are great against all the defendants all the time on [the] conspiracy [claim],” Schlesinger said. “Practically speaking, just purely from the amount of problems the defendants make because they have the unlimited checkbook, the scorched-earth strategy, [plaintiffs’ attorneys] end up simplifying it so we have less defense lawyers in the courtroom.”

    The Punitive Phase: Are Tobacco Industry Changes Enough to Mitigate Damages?

    The trial’s two-day punitive phase focused largely on whether the companies had done enough over the last two decades to mitigate against the damage they allegedly caused by concealing the dangers of smoking for much of the 20th century.

    During closings of the punitive phase Friday, Schlesinger pointed to evidence of Reynolds’ decision to continue marketing in magazines and argued it was one example of an ongoing strategy to hook new customers to its product. “The fact is that the companies have not changed in any way and they continue to conceal the fact that the lifeblood of the addiction, which begins the process, is youth.”

    Schlesinger requested no less than $10 million and no more than $50 million in combined punitives against the companies. “This is a day of reckoning for past misconduct,” Schlesinger said. “It has to be significant and substantial enough that it hurts. It’s supposed to be something that they don’t like.”

    But the defense argued a myriad of regulatory and corporate changes over the last two decades ended tobacco’s concealment of smoking’s health risks, helped further youth anti-smoking education, and mitigated against a large punitive award.

    Reilly walked jurors through a 1998 Master Settlement Agreement, or MSA, between the tobacco companies and the states’ attorneys general, as well federal Food and Drug Administration regulations that he said gave the groups sweeping control over the tobacco industry. “And they all have the power to enforce any violation of their regulations. Any violation,” Reilly said. “And yet Philip Morris, in the last 20 years, has not once been cited by an attorney general in any of the 50 states for having made a false or misleading statement about the health risks of smoking, or the addictive nature of cigarettes. Not once.”

    Reilly noted Philip Morris went beyond the MSA’s ban on billboard marketing, stadium signage, and concert sponsorships, among other advertising restrictions, and the company voluntarily stopped all magazine and newspaper advertising while publishing information about the risks of smoking on its own website. “These are voluntary acts. Why does Philip Morris do that?” Reilly asked. “It was to reduce the potential inadvertent observation by young people, an audience that Philip Morris is not trying to reach, [of] cigarette advertising.”

    Reynolds’ attorney, Beach, reminded jurors Reynolds’ liability was based only on its participation in the alleged conspiracy. Beach noted testimony from Charles Garner, the senior director of scientific and regulatory affairs for Reynolds, concerning the company’s compliance with federal regulations on tobacco as well as the company’s initiatives educating the public on tobacco risks. “[Garner] went through organization by organization, entity by entity, 50 ways from Sunday,” Beach said. “The agreement [at the heart of the conspiracy claim] doesn’t exist anymore, Reynolds is transparent on its positions on smoking, health, and addiction. And as you saw in the cross-examination, not a bit of that was refuted.”

    Jurors needed about three hours to hand down the $3 million punitive verdict. Notably, the jury’s $2 million award against Reynolds was twice the $1 million in punitives it imposed on Philip Morris, despite the direct link between Morris’ Marlboros and Oshinsky’s cancer.

    After the trial, Schlesinger told CVN “I was hoping that it would be a far more substantial punitive verdict, but millions of dollars are substantial sums to folks. I don’t know why the jurors decided to let [the defendants] off as lightly as they did, but they have their reasons, and I respect the jury, and they gave a nice verdict to the [plaintiff], so I’m proud of what they did.”

    Arlin Crisco and Meghan Gourley contributed to this article

    Watch the video.

    Read moreless
  • $6 Million Tobacco Verdict

    Tobacco Product Liability

    Read moreless
  • $4,500,000

    Tobacco Product Liability

    Read moreless
  • $4,500,000

    Tobacco Product Liability

    Broward Circuit Court Jury Rules Philip Morris USA, R.J. Reynolds Responsible for Damages
    FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Sep 11, 2015 (Marketwired via COMTEX) — A team of attorneys at Schlesinger Law Offices P.A. secured a $4.5 million jury verdict for Mary Cooper in a Broward Circuit Court trial against tobacco giants Philip Morris USA Inc. and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

    In the Sept. 8 verdict, a six-person jury awarded Cooper a total of $4.5 million for past and future pain and suffering, lost earnings, reduced future earning capacity and medical expenses incurred from an ongoing battle with cancer that began nearly 20 years ago. Born in 1951, Cooper began smoking cigarettes in the early 1960s and remained addicted to nicotine for almost 40 years despite numerous attempts to quit. In 1996, Cooper discovered a lump in her throat that was later diagnosed as laryngeal cancer and resulted in a 2001 surgery to remove her larynx.

    The attorney’s Scott Schlesinger, Steven J. Hammer, Jonathan Gdanski and Crane Johnstone represented Cooper in the lawsuit. The case stems from the landmark Engle class-action suit against the major tobacco companies, which were found to have conspired to conceal information about the harmful impact and addictive nature of cigarettes. The Florida Supreme Court decertified the class in 2006, opening the door for the findings in the Engle case to be used by individual plaintiffs like Cooper.

    Cooper’s case was originally tried in Broward Circuit Court last year, but that jury was unable to reach a verdict. The retrial commenced last month.

    “Phillip Morris controlled the future, because back in the 50s they said if they honestly had the knowledge and if they knew the harmful effects of cigarettes, they would stop making them,” said Scott Schlesinger during closing arguments. “This country could be a very different place because Mary would have never gotten sick and millions of people would have never gotten sick.”

    For Cooper, the timing of the $4.5 million jury award is critical. Since the original trial, she found out that the cancer had returned and spread to her liver. Since 2001 Cooper has spoken through the use of an electrolarynx. In 2004 cancer was found in her lungs which required the removal of one lobe.

    Despite periods of remission, cancer has been an ever-present reality in her life. Due to the caring treatment of her physicians, the cancer was kept at bay until recently. “Mary is a fighter,” Hammer said. “She fought all of these years to see her day in court. Our entire trial team is proud to have been able to represent her and get her justice from the jury.”

    Read moreless
  • $4,087,338

    Tobacco Product Liability

    Read moreless
  • $3,123,436

    Tobacco Product Liability

    Read moreless
  • $2,555,000

    Tobacco Product Liability

    Read moreless
  • $2,055,050

    Tobacco Product Liability

    Read moreless
  • $1.59 Million

    Car Accident

    In a high-stakes case, our firm won a $1.59 million verdict for our 65-year-old client, who spent nearly 6 years suffering from lasting injuries without a cent of compensation. Our client was sitting in a restaurant in an area known for high levels of criminal activity and the shopping center owners in which the restaurant was located took no steps to protect their patrons. Outside the restaurant, a woman was sitting in her car when two men attempted to rob her. In a moment of panic, she drove the car into the restaurant and broke our client’s back and ribs, gave him a head injury, and fractured his leg in multiple places. The property owners previously had a chance to prevent issues like this; either by hiring security guards or installing pipe bollards to keep the front of the restaurant safe from cars. They did neither, and our client paid the price. We are happy he has now received the financial security he needs to support himself, pay for the past and future medical expenses, and enjoy a better quality of life.

    Read moreless
  • $551,881

    Product Liability

    Our client was the owner of a 30-unit condo who hired a termite company that promised to get rid of the termites without requiring tent fumigation. The defendant would drill into the wood and inject it with a pesticide allegedly designed to kill termites. However, their methods were ineffective and led to a termite infestation across all 3 floors of the structure—even spreading to the condo units themselves. Our client hired a second termite company to do tent fumigation, but the damage had been done: there was over $450,000 of structural damage to the attic and trusses of the building. Because our client had to take a loan out to repair the damage, the total costs associated with the defendant’s negligence and false promises were over $550,000. The defendant argued that a.) the damage was preexisting, and b.) they had a contract that limited their liability. The jury rejected both defenses and awarded our client $551, 881 in damages, most of which will go toward reimbursing them for the cost of repairs.

    Read moreless
  • $481,500

    Car Accident

    Our firm won a verdict of $481,500 for a Fort Lauderdale client who suffered a concussion and orthopedic injuries when he was hurt by a negligent driver. Our client, a former public school construction supervisor, was riding a motorcycle on a clear day when the defendant crossed his path without giving our client enough time to stop. As a result, he struck the driver’s fender and launched into the street. His orthopedic injuries included a separated AC joint (a deeply painful shoulder injury that requires surgery) and a torn rotator cuff. His neurological injuries, however, are far worse. As a result of the concussion, our client has experienced distressing personality changes, vertigo, and memory issues. His jury award will go toward providing him with corrective surgery to his shoulder, ongoing neurological treatment, and reimbursing his medical expenses over the last several months.

    Read moreless
  • $269,609

    Tobacco Product Liability

    Read moreless

When You Need Legal Help, We’re Here. Contact Us 24/7.

    • Please enter your name.
    • This isn't a valid phone number.
    • Please enter your email address.
      This isn't a valid email address.
    • Please make a selection.
    • Please enter a message.
Contact Us