For more than 70 years, our Fort Lauderdale attorneys at Schlesinger Law Offices, P.A. have been seeking justice and securing victories in high-stakes personal injury cases. With a national reputation in product liability, tobacco litigation, and medical malpractice, we strive to achieve even more for our clients with every passing year.
We are pleased to share that two of our firm’s 2019 verdicts are included in the “7 Biggest Verdicts and Settlements of 2019” list in Florida, published by Law.com. Earning both the number one spot as well as the sixth place on the list, our attorneys secured verdicts worth $157 million and $41 million in damages respectively.
Our Top Verdicts in 2019
$157 Million for Same-Sex Tobacco Case
Our attorneys Scott Schlesinger, Jonathan Gdanski, and Steven J. Hammer led a groundbreaking case against tobacco giants Phillip Morris USA Inc. and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., winning $157 million on behalf of deceased lung cancer victim Edward Caprio and his surviving husband, Bryan Rintoul. Caprio died in 2018 after suffering a painful, 20-year battle with emphysema and lung cancer, which resulted directly from his lifelong use of cigarettes.
Our attorneys successfully argued that Rintoul could bring a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of his husband even though they were not married at the time Ed Caprio discovered his cigarette-related disease. Despite sharing a home and a life together since the 1970s, Caprio and Rintoul had been unable to marry until same-sex marriage first became legal in 2015. The jury found that the two would have married long ago had they been permitted.
By showing how Big Tobacco misrepresented and falsely advertised their products during Caprio’s formative teenage years, Schlesinger, Gdanski, and Hammer convinced the jury to award over three times more in punitive damages than requested in the claim. With a total of $157 million awarded, this verdict represents a significant victory both for our client and for similar victims of the tobacco industry.
$41 Million Verdict for Premises Liability Case
Earlier in 2019, the Schlesinger team won another significant victory on behalf of James Schnurr, the former chief accountant of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), who was struck by an upright post while riding his bike at Jonathan’s Landing Golf Club.
Schnurr became a quadriplegic as a result of his tragic bike accident, which our attorneys argued was entirely preventable by the owners of the members-only golf community. By violating decades-old safety rules for sidewalks with an unnecessary, difficult-to-see upright post, the club owners were ultimately considered liable for Schnurr’s injuries – and he and his wife were awarded $41 million in the verdict.
Ready to Keep Fighting for Justice
On behalf of our entire team at Schlesinger Law Offices, P.A., we’d like to congratulate Attorneys Schlesinger, Gdanski, and Hammer for their recent recognition in the Law.com review of the biggest 2019 verdicts in Florida. Because we never settle for anything less than full justice for our clients, our attorneys ended up securing over $300 million in 2019 alone. As we move into 2020, we look forward to serving our communities with renewed focus and dedication.
Call (954) 467-8800 if you need to discuss an injury case with our experienced team.