June 3, 2009

Florida Jury Awards $25 Million in Punitive Damages to Smoker's Widow

As reported on Bloomberg.com, a jury in Pensacola Florida has awarded $30 million, including $25 million in punitive damages, in a lawsuit against R.J. Reynolds. This case is apparently the seventh individual smoker case to go to trial after the Florida Supreme Court ruled in its 2006 Engle decision that Florida smokers could not sue as a class. Some of these cases have resulted in defense verdicts, and one resulted in a $5 million punitive damages award, but the defense lawyers in this case (Martin v. R.J. Reynolds) say none of the other cases have resulted in an award of this magnitude.