Articles Posted in Tobacco

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In December, a Gadsen County jury reached a decision to award $11 million to a woman suing R.J. Reynolds Tobacco company. The woman claimed that she contracted throat cancer from smoking their cigarettes. Although the $11 million figure may be reduced by the judge because the woman can be considered partially at fault, this case represents a huge victory for those suffering from nicotine addiction. If you have gotten sick or lost a loved one from tobacco product consider contacting a Miami Product Liability Attorney.

This case was argued in court as a product liability case. The 71-year-old woman’s attorney alleged that R.J. Reynolds was selling a defective product even though it was perfectly legal. The nicotine in the cigarettes caused the woman to become addicted reducing her fault for not being able to quit and prevent the cancer. The woman began smoking when she was just 14 years old.

The tobacco company’s lawyers argued that the woman was a willing smoker and not the picture of a hopeless addict she was portraying to the court. They also claimed that her cancer was not even caused by the cigarettes, but by the Human Papillomavirus, which at times is known to lead to cancer. The jury clearly did not buy the tobacco company’s arguments and decided instead to punish them heavily for selling such a dangerous product.

Previously, this blog discussed the elements of product liability claims as they relate to recalls by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“USPSC”) of various defective consumer products. Many times the circumstances associated with product liability claims spur attorneys to use a unique legal device to obtain recovery when multiple individuals have been injured.

When a sufficiently large number of people are injured by a product that was defectively manufactured or designed, the group’s legal claims may be pursued by means of a “class action” lawsuit.

A class action lawsuit is a type of legal claim that groups multiple individuals together so they can litigate their claims as one. In order to commence such an action, however, the class must first be certified by the court in which the lawsuit is filed. To be certified by the Court a class must possess four qualities:

The Third District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court in Frazier v. Philip Morris USA Inc., and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. The appellate court issued a 25 page opinion reversing and remanding the case for a new trial and stating that the late Phyllis Frazier should have been granted a directed verdict on the question of whether her lawsuit was covered by a four-year statute of limitations from a disbanded smoker class action, the 3rd DCA ruled. Philip M. Gerson and Edward Schwartz, PA with the law of firm of Gerson & Schwartz, PA represented the late Ms. Frazier in a hard fought 6 week trial. The jury deliberated finding that the Plaintiff proved her case on all but one issue.

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Judge David Miller ruled last week that the Engle Trust Fund with over 600 Million dollars will be eligible for smokers to claim beginning on April 25, 2008. In a string of recent decisions in favor for sick smokers in the last few months, former Engle Class Members may finally be able to take a portion of these monies that were set aside years ago.

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