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Widow awarded $23.6 billion in a settlement for her husband's death by tobacco in 1996

Forums - General Discussion - Widow awarded $23.6 billion in a settlement for her husband's death by tobacco in 1996

Ok I think the woman should receive a settlement but $23 billion is out of this world, no one needs that much money. I can't believe this was passed. What do you guys think?

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(Reuters) - A Florida jury has awarded the widow of a chain smoker who died of lung cancer 18 years ago record 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 the Florida Panhandle city of Pensacola sued the cigarette maker in 2008 over the death of her husband, Michael Johnson, claiming the company conspired to conceal the health dangers and addictive nature of its products.

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 deliberations, the jury returned a verdict granting compensatory damages of $7.3 million to the widow and the couple's child, and $9.6 million to Johnson's son from a previous relationship.

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

Lawyers for the tobacco company, a unit of Reynolds American Inc [RAI.N] whose brands include Camel, Kool, Winston and Pall Mall cigarettes, could not immediately be reached for comment.

But J. Jeffery Raborn, vice president and assistant general counsel for R.J. Reynolds, said in a statement quoted by the New York Times that the company planned to challenge "this runaway verdict." Such industry appeals are often successful.

... (Continue to source)

Source: Reuters



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So this US jury system.. How does it work? If you are lucky enough to get a bunch of dumb ones you get a few billion more then when you have reasonable ones?



 

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I have no idea, there are a plethora of trials that just make you go

I just wonder what the hell happened in this time:
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After a four-week trial and 11 hours of deliberations, the jury returned a verdict granting compensatory damages of $7.3 million to the widow and the couple's child, and $9.6 million to Johnson's son from a previous relationship.

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

They went from about $17,000,000 to $23,600,000,000 in 7 hours.



It's going to get overturned in appeals, guaranteed.



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VanceIX said:
It's going to get overturned in appeals, guaranteed.


That does seem very likely, I just can't believe it came to this amount in the first part.



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NiKKoM said:
So this US jury system.. How does it work? If you are lucky enough to get a bunch of dumb ones you get a few billion more then when you have reasonable ones?

Jury selection is one of the most crucial and focused-on aspect of trial prep. Although in this case they may have overdone: the reward is going to get sharply reduced, by about a hundred fold.



Why not 100 billion? How did the damage amount to 23bn exactly?



Yeah, it'll get overturned.



Wow. I hope that second of revenue loss will sting.



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Well shit, let's give her Arizona while we're at it.

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