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RJ Reynolds appeals $30 million verdict to Supremes

by Dara Kam | March 15th, 2011

R.J. Reynolds is asking the Florida Supreme Court to overturn a $30 million award to the widow of a long-time smoker of Lucky Strikes.

The cigarette maker is appealing a December appeals court decision upholding the verdict awarding $30 million – the highest award since the historic Engle decision -to Matilde Martin.

The appeal was filed in the Florida Supreme Court today.

Martin, whose husband Benny died of lung cancer after smoking for more than 50 years, sued R.J. Reynolds and five other cigarette manufacturers arguing the tobacco companies conspired to make their products addictive and hid from the public information about the dangers of smoking.

Last summer, a Palm Beach County jury ordered Reynolds and Philip Morris to pay only $270,000 in punitive damages to the widow of a Royal Palm Beach smoker who died of lung cancer at age 55.

The case under appeal, as well as the Palm Beach County case, are among roughly 8,000 spawned in 2006 when the Florida Supreme Court threw out the $145 billion verdict a Miami-Dade County jury awarded smokers in a class action suit filed by longtime smoker Dr. Howard Engle.

While upholding the jury’s findings the cigarette-makers had lied about the dangers of smoking, the high court ruled that each of the smokers had to prove how they were uniquely harmed by cigarettes.

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6 Responses to “RJ Reynolds appeals $30 million verdict to Supremes”

  1. Just thinking Says:

    So this guy chose to smoke for more than 50 years, had every opportunity to quit during that time, and then dies of cancer and his widow gets $30 million? Come on. This cancer was self-inflicted!

  2. Unreal Says:

    With enough money you can buy the court

  3. Sorry Says:

    Sorry, I think these jury verdicts are outrageous. Warnings are printed on the packs of cigarettes they willingly smoked for years. The dangers were well documented and public knowledge. If these folks choose to ignore them, why should they get millions of dollars. It’s outrageous!

  4. John Says:

    Very few people understand the level of manipulation of chemical components that tobacco companies spent billions accomplishing. The primary purpose behind that research was addiction — trying to keep smokers addicted. The thousands of internal documents demonstrate this clearly.

    There is no corporation in America who tried so hard, spent so much money to market a highly addictive drug and were legally permitted to increase the addictiveness of the drug.

    All of these cases in the news today involve smokers who were addicted long before anyone knew that cigarettes were dangerous and smokers who developed illnesses while tobacco companies were still spending millions every year to tell the public that cigarettes were not bad for you.

  5. Joe Says:

    The Supremes have released a statement….

    ” It’s all your own fault” !

  6. Joe Says:

    that was a message to rj reynolds

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