Widow of lung cancer victim wins $23.6bn in damages from tobacco company RJ Reynolds
Payout was awarded against RJ Reynolds, America's second biggest tobacco company
Sunday 20 July 2014
The widow of a cigarette smoker who died of lung cancer has been awarded $23.6billion (£14billion) in compensation from America's second biggest tobacco company.
Cynthia Robinson started legal action in 2008 against RJ Reynolds, makers of the Camel, Pall Mall, Winston and other famous cigarette brands, seeking compensation for her husband's death in 1996.
The punitive damages are the largest of any individual case stemming from a class action lawsuit filed in Florida.
The damages come after a four-week trial and also include an additional to $16.8million (£9.8million) in compensatory damages awarded on Friday.
During the trial lawyers for Ms Robinson argued that RJ Reynolds was negligent in informing consumers of the addictive dangers of tobacco.
Her Lawyers argued that the negligence led to Michael Johnson Sr contracting lung cancer from smoking cigarettes after becoming "addicted" and failing to quit after many attempts to stop smoking.
Christopher Chestnut, a lawyer representing Ms Johnson, said: "The jury wanted to send a statement that tobacco [companies] cannot continue to lie to the American people and the American government about the addictiveness of and the deadly chemicals in their cigarettes."
Ms Robinon's lawyers said the goal of the lawsuit was to stop tobacco companies from targeting children and young people with their advertising.
RJ Reynolds plans to appeal against the court's decision - the company's vice president and assistant general counsel Jeffery Raborn called the damages "grossly excessive and impermissible under state and constitutional law".
In June, the US Supreme Court turned away cigarette manufacturers' appeals of more than $70million (£41million) in court judgments to Florida smokers.
And in August, a Fort Lauderdale jury awarded $37.5million (£22million), including $22.5million (£13.2million) in punitive damages, against RJ Reynolds, to the family of a smoker who died at the age 38 of lung cancer in 1995.
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 3 Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
- 4 Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
- 5 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
Ohio Democrat Teresa Fedor speaks out during abortion debate to reveal she has been raped – and is interrupted by laughter from Republicans
Children take eight Isis captives to be beheaded in latest propaganda video
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
£14500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a Sales Ca...
£14560 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers unique pers...
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...