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…]

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…]

Florida Supreme Court Rules Injured Smokers Can Seek Punitive Damages

Florida Supreme Court Rules Injured Smokers Can Seek Punitive Damages

The Florida Supreme Court ruled this week that the widow of a smoker who died of lung cancer can seek punitive damages against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., marking a significant win for injured smokers and families of deceased smokers who have been fighting cigarette companies in Florida courts over the past 20 years.

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