partlycloudy
Tuesday July 7th, 2015 3:52PM

Fla. jury slams RJ Reynolds with $23.6B in damages

By The Associated Press
MIAMI (AP) -- A Florida jury has slammed a tobacco company 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.<br /> <br /> 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.<br /> <br /> 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.<br /> <br /> Robinson individually sued R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. 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.<br /> <br /> "The jury wanted to send a statement that tobacco cannot continue to lie to the American people and the American government about the addictiveness of and the deadly chemicals in their cigarettes," said one of the woman's attorneys, Christopher Chestnut.<br /> <br /> Reynolds' vice president and assistant general counsel, Jeffery Raborn, called the damages in Robinson's case "grossly excessive and impermissible under state and constitutional law."<br /> <br /> "This verdict goes far beyond the realm of reasonableness and fairness, and is completely inconsistent with the evidence presented," Raborn said. "We plan to file post-trial motions with the trial court promptly, and are confident that the court will follow the law and not allow this runaway verdict to stand."<br /> <br /> The lawsuit's goal was to stop tobacco companies from targeting children and young people with their advertising, said Willie Gary, another attorney representing Robinson.<br /> <br /> "If we don't get a dime, that's OK, if we can make a difference and save some lives," Gary said.<br /> <br /> In June, the U.S. Supreme Court turned away cigarette manufacturers' appeals of more than $70 million in court judgments to Florida smokers. Reynolds, Philip Morris USA Inc. and Lorillard Tobacco Co. had wanted the court to review cases in which smokers won large damage awards without having to prove that the companies sold a defective and dangerous product or hid the risks of smoking.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 6 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 6 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 6 months ago )
U.S. News
State DOT awards $48M contract for NE Ga. road project
The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.8 million contract for nine miles of work on a northeast Georgia road.
9:37AM ( 6 months ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 6 months ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 6 months ago )
Maysville man dies from Banks County wreck
The Georgia State Patrol reports that alcohol and/or drugs were factors a single-vehicle wreck that claimed the life of a Maysville man in Banks County Tuesday night.
11:07AM ( 6 months ago )
Local/State News
SC Senate gives final OK to Confederate flag removal
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina Senate gave final approval Tuesday to a bill removing the Confederate flag from a pole in front of the Statehouse, sending the proposal to the House, where it...
2:06PM ( 1 hour ago )
US job openings stay high, but actual hiring falters in May
WASHINGTON (AP) — Job openings stayed close to a 15-year high in May. It's a sign that companies are expecting continued economic growth, but the level of advertised jobs hasn't driven the same kind o...
12:46PM ( 3 hours ago )
Senate, House look to update Bush-era education law
WASHINGTON (AP) — It's something most Democrats and Republicans in Congress can agree on — an update to the Bush-era No Child Left Behind education law is much needed and long overdue.This week, the S...
3:24AM ( 12 hours ago )
Cosby said he got drugs to give women for sex
Bill Cosby testified in 2005 that he got Quaaludes with the intent of giving them to young women he wanted to have sex with, and he admitted giving the sedative to at least one woman and "other people."
11:42PM ( 16 hours ago )
US stocks slip amid global sell-off after Greek 'no' vote
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks in the U.S. fell broadly following drops in overseas markets as Greeks voted to reject creditor conditions for more loans, but the losses weren't as steep as many had feared.Wit...
6:32PM ( 21 hours ago )