Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog

Jury Returns $27 Million Verdict Against Philip Morris in Florida Tobacco Litigation

tobacco philip morris litigation

A federal court jury in Florida has awarded Judith Berger $27,010,000.14 in damages in a lawsuit against Philip Morris USA Inc. Mrs. Berger began smoking in 1958 when she was 14 years old and was smoking a pack a day by age 16. Evidence was shown at trial that 90 percent of daily cigarette smokers start smoking as teenagers and the tobacco industry targets youth in their advertisements for this very reason. The verdict included 20,760,000 dollars and 14 cents in punitive damages.

"We are pleased that the jury held Philip Morris accountable for their calculated choice to target children, such as Mrs. Berger, to take up smoking," stated Lieff Cabraser’s Kenneth Byrd, the lead trial counsel for Mrs. Berger. "The addition of 14 cents is just as meaningful as the $20 million before it… The jury understood our society should protect 14 year olds, not target them for profits as the cigarette industry does."