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Fla. jury: R.J. Reynolds must pay smoker’s widow $23.6B

Published: Sun, July 20, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

Associated Press


A Florida jury has slammed the nation’s No. 2 cigarette maker, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., with $23.6 billion in punitive damages in a lawsuit filed by the widow of a longtime smoker who died of lung cancer in 1996.

The case is one of thousands filed in Florida after the state Supreme Court in 2006 tossed out a $145 billion class-action verdict. That ruling also said smokers and their families need only prove addiction and that smoking caused their illnesses or deaths.

Last year, Florida’s highest court re-approved that decision, which made it easier for sick smokers or their survivors to pursue lawsuits against tobacco companies without having to prove to the court again that Big Tobacco knowingly sold dangerous products and hid the hazards of cigarette smoking.

The damages a Pensacola jury awarded Friday to Cynthia Robinson after a four-week trial come in addition to $16.8 million in compensatory damages.

Robinson individually sued Reynolds in 2008 on behalf of her late husband, Michael Johnson Sr. Her attorneys said the punitive damages are the largest of any individual case stemming from the original class- action lawsuit.

Reynolds’ vice president and assistant general counsel, J. Jeffery Raborn, called the damages in Robinson’s case “grossly excessive and impermissible under state and constitutional law.”


1dmacker(546 comments)posted 2 years ago

Did R.J. Reynolds tie this man up and force smoke down his lungs?
Where is personal responsibility
Why must someone else always be responsible for the bad things that result from our bad choices?

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2handymandave(578 comments)posted 2 years ago

Nothing like a large sum of money to aid in the grieving process!

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3DSquared(1788 comments)posted 2 years ago

The new America. "It's not my fault"!!!

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4redeye1(5683 comments)posted 2 years ago

Hey is there anyone out there who smokes, who would like to make me rich? If you are a long time smoker and near dead and have no relatives please call me. I will gladly sue the tobacco companies for you and me , of course.

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576Ytown(1374 comments)posted 2 years ago

For years, the tobacco industry promoted cigarettes, at one time even saying the were healthy! As any long term smoker will tell you, it is VERY difficult to quit. Many smokers try everything - cold turkey, programs, nicotine patch, wellbutrin, hypnosis with a 92% failure rate. Smokers are finding the e-cigs are an instant cure for their habit, often giving up cigarettes on the very day they start using e-cigs. They can vape with or without nicotine, or slowly reduce the amount of nicotine down to zero when they're ready.

The giant tobacco industry and pharma aren't interested in your health, they are only interested in your wallet. They and the FDA are trying to put a stop to the e-cig business. Well, actually tobacco industry is now venturing into that market. but they continue to try to say that e-cigs will harm children because they contain nicotine which is highly addictive - no duh! Who's using e-cigs? The vast majority are those that were already addicted to regular cigarettes.

According to the American Lung Association, There are approximately 600 ingredients in cigarettes. When burned, they create more than 7,000 chemicals. At least 69 of these chemicals are known to cause cancer, and many are poisonous. http://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/abou...

E-liquid typically consists of four main ingredients: propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, nicotine and flavoring. Some without nicotine.

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