11th Circuit Reinstates $27 Million Verdict for Injured Smoker Against Phillip Morris in Florida Tobacco Litigation

2018 Berger Tobacco Lawsuit

In 2014, Lieff Cabraser won a trial verdict against Philip Morris on behalf of injured smoker Judith Berger, who started using cigarettes at age 14. The jury awarded compensation in the amount of $6.25 million, then added an additional $20 million in punitive damages against the cigarette maker. Thereafter, the trial judge substantially undercut the claims at the defendants’ urging, reducing the compensatory award to $3.75 million and eliminating the punitive damages award. Philip Morris further appealed the reduced damages award, claiming falsely that plaintiffs’ counsel had characterized the tobacco industry as “pedophiles” to the jury. [Read more…]

Full Measure Talks to Kenny Byrd About the “Forgotten” Tobacco War

Cigarette in ash tray

Lieff Cabraser Nashville partner Kenneth S. Byrd recently spoke with Sharyl Attkisson of Full Measure in an in-depth cover story about the forgotten legacy of the big tobacco lawsuit settlement, “the one that came after the nation’s cigarette makers got caught red handed in a decades-long cover-up of their products’ risks and addictive qualities.” However, that staggering settlement did not directly benefit individuals injured by the tobacco companies’ conduct and deceptions. As the report explains, many of those injured smokers and their families are now waging a quiet war on a lengthy case-by-case basis. [Read more…]

Supreme Court Declines to Hear R.J. Reynolds’ Appeal of Tobacco Injury Liability Ruling

Cigarette butt on abstract background.

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to consider R.J. Reynolds’ appeal of a ruling from the 11th Circuit that federal law does not prevent smokers from using the watershed Engle tobacco injury case to bring allegations of negligence and strict liability. The Court’s refusal to hear the appeal leaves standing the lower court’s finding that plaintiffs can rely on the verdict in Engle v. Liggett Group Inc. to establish claims of negligence and strict liability. [Read more…]

Defendant-Driven Delays in Florida Tobacco Injury May Leave Plaintiffs Without Justice

Cigarette in ash tray

A recent R.J. Reynolds financial filing indicates the tobacco giant faces more than 2,700 tobacco injury lawsuits that still await trial in Florida state courts. Because Florida provides special reduced appellate bond requirements for tobacco companies, there are more pending tobacco injury lawsuits in the Sunshine State than all other states combined. [Read more…]

Kenneth Byrd in Nashville Scene on Big Tobacco Sponsorship of Schools

Kenneth Byrd Quoted in Nashville Scene on Tobacco Sponsorship of Schools

The Nashville Scene reports that cigarette giant Phillip Morris, now known as Altria, will be the founding sponsor of the 7th Annual Academies of Nashville gala, an event put on by the Nashville Chamber of Commerce honoring teachers and principals, and recognizing partnerships between business and schools. [Read more…]

Lieff Cabraser Achieves Two of Nation’s Largest 2014 Jury Verdicts

Lieff Cabraser Achieves Two of Nation's Largest 2014 Jury Verdicts

The National Law Journal has named two verdicts achieved by Lieff Cabraser trial lawyers to its list of the Top Verdicts of 2014. Both trials occurred in federal court in Florida as part of the so-called Engle cases, the Florida class action filed against the cigarette companies in 1994.

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$100 Million Settlement Announced in Federal Court Florida Smokers Litigation

Attorney Robert J. Nelson of the national plaintiffs’ law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, announced today the settlement of more than 400 lawsuits filed by Florida smokers and their families against the major cigarette companies, Philip Morris USA Inc., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, and Lorillard Tobacco Company. [Read more…]

Jury Holds RJ Reynolds Accountable to Florida Widow

San Francisco — Attorney Sarah London of the San Francisco office of the national plaintiffs’ law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, announced that a jury in federal court in Florida last week returned a verdict of $6 million against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (“RJR”) for Ellen Gray, the wife of Henry Gray, who died at the age of 63 from lung cancer and other smoking-related diseases. [Read more…]