At Schlesinger Law Offices, P.A., our team of experienced lawyers are committed to helping clients throughout the state of Florida secure the compensation they deserve for their personal injury cases. Our skilled legal professionals recently secured a $12 million compensatory damage award for one of our clients after we filed a lawsuit against Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds for causing our client’s spouse’s cigarette addiction and fatal lung cancer.
In addition to the $12 million compensatory damage award, the Broward County jury also issued a verdict that levied $15 million in punitive damages against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and $10 million in punitive damages against Philip Morris USA Inc.
The trial lasted two days, though it only took three hours for the jury to decide on punitive damages. In his closing arguments, attorney Jonathan R. Gdanski asked the jury to see the tobacco companies “for what they really are” and impose punitive damages for their actions. “What this industry did wrong was indiscriminately kill 30 million people... In this case, the answer to the ‘why?’ is one word: money. They were greedy,” said attorney Gdanski, who told jurors imposing punitive damages would send a message outside of the courtroom that would urge corporations to conduct business at a higher standard.
The jury also found that both tobacco companies were to blame for the cigarette addiction and lung cancer that led to the death of our client’s wife. The jury found statements made by the tobacco companies to conceal the health effects and addictive nature of cigarettes were relied on by our client’s spouse, ultimately leading to her death. According to the jury, Reynolds and Philip Morris were 45% responsible for the death of our client’s wife.
Our client was awarded $12 million for the pain and suffering caused by the death of his wife and $5,500 for funeral expenses.
This particular case is one of the thousands stemming from the landmark Engle class action against tobacco companies. In 2006, The Florida Supreme Court decertified the Engle class and overturned a $145 billion verdict. However, the court allowed up to 700,000 people who could have won judgments to rely on the jury's findings to file their own lawsuits. Findings in the class include conclusions that smoking causes certain diseases, as well as the fact that tobacco companies attempted to conceal the dangers of smoking from consumers.
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Have you or someone you know suffered serious injuries caused by the negligence of another person or company? If so, you might be entitled to financial compensation for your damages. Our team of experienced legal advocates is here to assess the details of your case and explain all of your rights under the law. We will guide you through every step of the legal process and make sure your rights are fully protected.
Call (954) 467-8800 to schedule your free consultation with our personal injury attorneys in Florida.