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Florida jury awards $23 billion punitive damages against RJ Reynolds

Discussion in 'Off-topic Zone' started by joseephuss, Jul 19, 2014.

  1. joseephuss

    joseephuss Well-Known Member

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    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/19/us-usa-tobacco-award-idUSKBN0FO0ZM20140719

    Florida jury awards $23 billion punitive damages against RJ Reynolds

    (Reuters) - A Florida jury has awarded the widow of a chain smoker who died of lung cancer punitive damages of more than $23 billion in her lawsuit against the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the nation's second-biggest cigarette maker.

    The judgment, returned on Friday night, was the largest in Florida history in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by a single plaintiff, according to Ryan Julison, a spokesman for the woman's lawyer, Chris Chestnut.

    Cynthia Robinson of Florida Panhandle city of Pensacola sued the cigarette maker in 2008 over the death of her husband, Michael Johnson.

    Johnson, a hotel shuttle bus driver who died of lung cancer in 1996 at age 36, smoked one to three packs a day for more 20 years, starting at age 13, Chestnut said.

    "He couldn't quit. He was smoking the day he died," the lawyer told Reuters on Saturday.

    After a four-week trial and 11 hours of jury deliberations, the jury returned a verdict granting the widow $7.3 million and the couple's son $9.6 million in compensatory damages.

    The same jury deliberated for another seven hours before deciding to award Robinson the additional sum of $23.6 billion in punitive damages, according to the verdict forms.
  2. Manwiththeplan

    Manwiththeplan Well-Known Member

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    I think cigarette companies and their lobbyist are about as low as you can get, but anyone who started smoking after 1964, doesn't deserve $23 billion
    hipfake08 and Idgit like this.
  3. joseephuss

    joseephuss Well-Known Member

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    I don't think any one person or family deserves $23 billion for a lawsuit. That is exorbitant. If this were some sort of civil suit covering thousands of people that would be different.
  4. Manwiththeplan

    Manwiththeplan Well-Known Member

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    yea, even the cigarette companies don't have enough to pay each person their product has killed, $23 billion. Who's to say this person's life is worth more than anyone else's?
  5. jobberone

    jobberone Right turn Clyde Staff Member

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    That Circuit Court of Appeals is notorious about sending excessive awards back to the lower court. Some sort of settlement will be reached.
  6. BigStar

    BigStar Stop chasing Zone Supporter

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    Tobacco companies have plenty of money. They owned congress for 4 decades and once they were made, the burden switches back to the user. I understand smokers should undertake the risks, it's more about the insane profits/wealth/influence they were able to obtain from being such a powerful business lobby. These suits are a way of getting some of that money back (a tiny fraction) and am fine with some poor schmuck getting a dime before they're done.
  7. Phoenix

    Phoenix Well-Known Member

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    This was just a ridiculous decision. It will be laughed out of higher courts.
  8. StarMan

    StarMan Well-Known Member

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    Good grief. Our judicial system is a joke.
  9. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    Anyone who started smoking after 1970 has only themselves to blame.
  10. paladin78749

    paladin78749 Active Member

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    RJ et al knowingly manufacture addictive poison. They've marketed this garbage, in the past, to children, and knowingly perjured themselves in front of Congress. Whatever happens to them is less then they deserve, they are evil perdonified. Lost my Mom (started smoking in 1945) to lung cancer and my dad (started smoking during WW2 when cigs were a part of his rations) to emphysema.
  11. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    And it is legal. So frankly get off your high horse. Everyone just about smoked long before there was marketing or anything else. Weak willed people respond to marketing and I really doubt many ever took up smoking because of ads and commercials. Peer pressure was responsible for a lot of it; if everyone else is doing it you tend to as well.

    It was a societal change that started the decline in smoking; nothing anyone else did frankly. I doubt the surgeon generals warnings on the packs had any effect at all. It just gradually became accepted it was bad for your health. Now stupid people still smoke and that is what they are; stupid. I have no sympathy for anyone that started in the last 30-40 years. No one puts a gun to your head to start smoking; and you have to smoke for a while before the nicotine addiction kicks in. That is on the individual and no one else; this blaming of the tobacco companies is old and tired. Personal responsibility is something a lot of people refuse to accept. So this lawsuit was always baseless. And I have no doubt it will be struck down.
  12. CashMan

    CashMan Well-Known Member

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    I agree, but let me ask you this question: Are you addicted to anything? Like chocolate, food, sugar, alcohol, energy drinks,ect? Try stopping for life, once you start. I totally agree with smoking is dumb, and I have never tried it, but I think it is more of a social thing, and people get hooked off that. Ever go to a class and on break or even at work, everyone goes outside to smoke? Or even at a bar? I think it has more to do with addiction, then chemicals added to keep you addicted.
    BigStar likes this.
  13. paladin78749

    paladin78749 Active Member

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    And this has what do to with my post?
    Actually NOTHING you wrote has anything to do with my post
    I wonder why you quoted me.

    Go find the strawman you apparently crave to fight somewhere else.
    JoeyBoy718 likes this.
  14. visionary

    visionary Well-Known Member

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    Our judicial system is the reason for exorbitant healthcare costs

    Unfortunately our country is run by lawyers so everything else will be "revamped" and everyone else will be blamed

    We are the most litigious society in the world

    The general public are willing sheep on all significant issues.... Happily blind
  15. paladin78749

    paladin78749 Active Member

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    When you combine litigation with insurance, multiple levels of bureaucracy and add a entrenched medical establishment you're going to create a "perfect storm" of inefficiency/expense. I cant really see how this problem gets solved without going back to "square one". The tobacco angle is troubling to me, as we subsidize tobacco and then spend huge $$$ combatting it's negative health effects. Unfortunately, you're right, as long as "The Bachelor" is on and the air conditioning works, the electorate will stay comatose.
    visionary likes this.
  16. visionary

    visionary Well-Known Member

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    Spot on

    The 23 billion are coming from somewhere, it is not funny money

    We all get to pay
  17. joseephuss

    joseephuss Well-Known Member

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    Burm is addicted to anger and using that anger on the internet. You can see it in the majority of his posts.
  18. Phoenix

    Phoenix Well-Known Member

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    Smoking is amazingly addictive. So very hard to stop. But it can be done. Not with nicotine gum, not with patches, not with hypnotism or whatever else you might think is an aid. They all can be of help as can Chantix. But it is nothing more or less than sheer willpower to stop, a mindset so firm that you will NOT be denied victory in stopping this habit.

    If I can do it, anyone can. 27 years, 2.5 packs a day. Always said my last cigarette would be just before I keel over and die. And oh by the way, please bury me with a cigarette in my hand.

    Then, four years ago, boom! Thought I had a heart attack. Rushed to ER in ambulance.

    Then a few months later, again. That second time I was admitted for observation / tests. They discovered I was THISCLOSE to emphysema. "Don't stop now and you'll be wearing an oxygen mask in no time." I didn't believe them. The MINUTE I was out of the hospital, three cigarettes back to back to back. Same uneasy feelings hit me again, the same onset of symptons that sent me into the ER. Twice. I thought, "holy cow they're RIGHT!". Threw my pack away, and quit on the spot. On Sept. 10th, that will have been 4 years ago now. And not one cigarette since. I still dream about them though, still miss them. Still tempted. But never again.

    Left with COPD. Spiriva daily inhaler for probably the rest of my life. But my lungs have recovered from 24% capacity back up to around 84% now.

    And not once did I ever consider trying to sue Big Tobacco for billions or millions or thousands or anything due to my own stupidity for knowingly doing something so destructive to myself. Only myself to blame.

    Smoking slowly destroys not only the lungs, but every organ in the body. It's pretty much the worst legal thing you can do to yourself.
    JoeyBoy718 and BigStar like this.
  19. BigStar

    BigStar Stop chasing Zone Supporter

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    Great story and appreciate the insight. As an ex smoker, would you feel differently if the Tobacco Co's had to pay restitution to the government (HHS) for contributing to the inflated medical costs they instigated? It seems a lot of the lack of empathy relates to some individual getting a pay day because they picked up a destructive habit instead of the bribery and fraud perpetuated on behalf of big backer that contributed to the insane medical expense of this product.
  20. Phoenix

    Phoenix Well-Known Member

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    I would happily endorse their being ordered to contribute to medical costs.
    BigStar likes this.

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