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Florida jury awards $23 billion punitive damages against RJ Reynolds (to widow of chainsmoker)
Reuters ^ | July 19, 2014 | Barbara Liston

Posted on 07/19/2014 11:24:15 PM PDT by Innovative

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.

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.

(Excerpt) Read more at reuters.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: lawsuit; pufflist; rjreynolds; smoking; tobacco
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No personal responsibility -- the company didn't force him to smoke...

What was the matter with the jury?!

1 posted on 07/19/2014 11:24:16 PM PDT by Innovative
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To: Innovative

Stupid jury and emotional verdict.


2 posted on 07/19/2014 11:27:20 PM PDT by House Atreides (ANOTHER CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN FOR CHILDERS 2014 .... Don't reward bad GOPe behavior.)
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To: House Atreides

Even $23 Million would have been way too much — but 23 BILLION, with a “B” is insane!


3 posted on 07/19/2014 11:29:01 PM PDT by Innovative ("Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." -- Vince Lombardi)
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To: Innovative
Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds Worth $11.9 Bln, Calif. Jury Told
4 posted on 07/19/2014 11:30:43 PM PDT by South40 (Hillary Clinton was a "great secretary of state". - Texas Governor Rick Perry)
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To: South40

Great — the damages are twice what the company is worth!

This is insane.


5 posted on 07/19/2014 11:33:34 PM PDT by Innovative ("Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." -- Vince Lombardi)
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To: Innovative

low info voters jury I wonder???


6 posted on 07/19/2014 11:39:25 PM PDT by RginTN
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To: Innovative

Actually, that amount was a combined total for the two large tobacco companies. R. J. Reynolds alone has a net worth $5.3 billion. So the jury awarded the plaintiff 4x what the company is worth.


7 posted on 07/19/2014 11:41:48 PM PDT by South40 (Hillary Clinton was a "great secretary of state". - Texas Governor Rick Perry)
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To: Innovative

I used to smoke. Where do I sign up for my billions?


8 posted on 07/19/2014 11:43:48 PM PDT by boycott
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To: Innovative

What kind of a stupid jury is that? The original awards were plenty, but I guess they just want Reynolds to “get the message.”

I’ve argued many times with libs about everyone having a choice to stop smoking, and if it’s hard to do, they can get all kinds of help. The fury and rage these idiots displayed at my simple, logical statement of fact was really frightening. “NO, no one can stop.”


9 posted on 07/19/2014 11:46:10 PM PDT by Veto! (OpInions freely dispensed as advice)
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To: Innovative

I smoked an average of two packs a day for thirty years. I even watched them slowly kill my father but still didn’t quit. Switched to an e-cig two years ago after an expletive-laced tirade from my doctor, and so far, so good. But I told my wife that if it comes back to haunt me ten or fifteen years from now, all she’s to do is to run me through the undertaker’s oven and put me on the mantle in a walnut box. My choice, my consequences. My stupidity.


10 posted on 07/19/2014 11:48:03 PM PDT by Viking2002 (Just because I'm paranoid, it doesn't mean I'm wrong.)
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To: Viking2002

I think those e-cigs are a godsend.

I don’t use them myself, but they are perfectly harmless to those around the users.


11 posted on 07/19/2014 11:52:06 PM PDT by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults)
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To: Innovative

Coughing up dark brown phlegm for three decades wasn’t a clue.


12 posted on 07/19/2014 11:53:06 PM PDT by SpaceBar
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To: Innovative
Putting the tobacco companies out of business would have some really interesting consequences.

First, the companies would be instantly replaced by violent criminal gangs with huge cash incomes.

Thus, a huge new expense for the justice system, plus, bodies in the street.

Second, state, local, and federal taxes collected on tobacco were about $31 billion in 2013.

That income would disappear like a...puff of smoke!

Finally, all the tort lawyers who participated in the 1998 “Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement” would lose their multi-million dollar annuities, a large part of which they kick back to the Democrat Party.

Bankrupt the tobacco companies?

I say:

“Go For It!”

13 posted on 07/19/2014 11:57:09 PM PDT by zeestephen
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To: Innovative

The “damages” should have consisted of the widow and her lawyers being ordered to reimburse RJR for their expenses.


14 posted on 07/19/2014 11:58:32 PM PDT by cynwoody
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To: Innovative
My father smoked at least 2 packs a day all his life. Yes (surprise!), he died of lung cancer back in 12/95. Then I should be able to sue the cigarette company for the loss of my father?

I begged him since I was a child to stop smoking, but he could not find the strength to kick the addiction. So he paid the price. And so did I, in losing him. I'll bet smokers don't consider the ones they leave behind as they puff their way to radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and seeing the stricken faces of loved ones around their bed. Or the lifelong asthma my smoking parents gifted me with.

15 posted on 07/20/2014 12:00:18 AM PDT by EinNYC
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To: Jonty30

I’m not into those urban-jungle e-hookahs everyone seems to be puffing these days. I prefer the menthol 21st Century Smoke. But yes, they are a godsend. No smell, no carcinogens, just water, menthol, glycol, and a little shot of nicotine. Within a month of switching, I could smell smokers even after they’d left a room. My wind started to come back, and food tasted fresher. And I certainly don’t miss spending the first ten minutes of my waking day coughing up phlegm out of my chest. I’m not going to turn into one of those raving anti-smoking zealots - I know how good an after dinner/sex/you-name-it smoke is. I just found a universally healthier way to indulge in my vice. And you can bet your firstborn that liberals are feverishly trying to find ways to regulate and tax it. And if they can’t do it on the free market, they’ll try to have it declared a medical device requiring a prescription through Obamacare. Mark my words.


16 posted on 07/20/2014 12:02:50 AM PDT by Viking2002 (Just because I'm paranoid, it doesn't mean I'm wrong.)
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To: Innovative

Flame away, but I will bet a strong willed woman or a sissified man or 2 were on that jury.


17 posted on 07/20/2014 12:03:41 AM PDT by vpintheak (I will not comply!)
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To: Innovative

http://images.peekyou.com/3684/8879/cynthia_robinson_368488799.jpg


18 posted on 07/20/2014 12:04:25 AM PDT by kcvl
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To: EinNYC

Your father also made the remarkable individual that you are. Humans are peculiar creatures and enjoy their petty habits and vices, even if dangerous. I know smokers. Talking sense into them is difficult.


19 posted on 07/20/2014 12:08:17 AM PDT by SpaceBar
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To: South40
Here is the current total stock market value for the three largest USA tobacco companies:

Altria (formerly Philip Morris) - $84 billion

Lorillard - $22 billion

Reynolds - $31 billion

20 posted on 07/20/2014 12:17:19 AM PDT by zeestephen
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To: South40

If I’m not mistaken, this award can be appealed. I could be wrong, so if anyone on here is a legal beagle - please inform us.


21 posted on 07/20/2014 12:40:39 AM PDT by Catsrus (A)
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To: RginTN

I’ll bet some of those jury members could not tell you the difference between a million and a billion. Even were this for “only” $23. Million dollars, that would still be way too much money. This adult make a choice to use this legal product. The tobacco lawyers are slipping if they allow a ridiculous sum as this to go to the jury.


22 posted on 07/20/2014 12:52:11 AM PDT by lee martell
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To: lee martell

Its stunning this wasn’t thrown out. I have no faith in the courts overturning this absurd reward. Maybe a miracle will happen and this decision is overturned.


23 posted on 07/20/2014 1:34:14 AM PDT by RginTN
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To: Innovative

Reynolds will have to recruit a lot of new smokers to pay off this judgment.


24 posted on 07/20/2014 1:50:30 AM PDT by FoxInSocks ("Hope is not a course of action." -- M. O'Neal, USMC)
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To: EinNYC

these kinds of stories illustrate the sheer idiocy and incredibly false stance of the libertarian mindset on drugs. which is that they don’t hurt anyone else. we don’t live in vacuums and others are hurt by self-destructive behavior of loved ones.


25 posted on 07/20/2014 1:54:34 AM PDT by Secret Agent Man ( Gone Galt; Not averse to Going Bronson.)
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To: SpaceBar

Some of old geezers came from a time when smoking was looked at differently. Every other commercial was a cigarette commercial the others were for beer, whiskey or wine. Every box of C-RATS had a four pack of cigarette’s and a small pack of matches. The first cigarette I ever smoked was provided to me by the US Government in 1969.


26 posted on 07/20/2014 2:16:06 AM PDT by Dusty Road
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To: Veto!
"What kind of a stupid jury is that? The original awards were plenty, but I guess they just want Reynolds to “get the message.”"

The message being that Florida will put really dumb people on its juries? For the obvious tax reasons, I've considered buying a retirement place in Florida, but this stuff is scary.

27 posted on 07/20/2014 2:56:12 AM PDT by Sooth2222 ("Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of congress. But I repeat myself." M.Twain)
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To: Jonty30
"I don’t use them myself, but they are perfectly harmless to those around the users."

The FDA says no they are not harmless to those around. They are still putting chemical laden vapors into the air. They are thought to be less harmful than cigarettes but it's s different mix of chemicals.

28 posted on 07/20/2014 3:37:14 AM PDT by DannyTN (I)
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To: Innovative

23B? I’m sure the check is in the mail.


29 posted on 07/20/2014 3:40:43 AM PDT by D Rider
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To: DannyTN

You’re going to trust the FDA?

Do you also trust the EPA?


30 posted on 07/20/2014 3:48:44 AM PDT by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults)
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To: DannyTN
The FDA says no they are not harmless to those around.

Did you just fall off of a turnip truck?

The FDA is a federal bureaucracy who's power, authority, and budget increases with the list if things they find that need to be regulated.

Never accept anything they say without seeing the evidence for yourself.

31 posted on 07/20/2014 3:59:58 AM PDT by tacticalogic
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To: Innovative

Beverly Sills died of lung cancer. She never smoked.
My dad was a 2-pack-a-day, unfiltered Raleigh “plain” chimney since after his service in WWII. Had the smoker’s cough but no lung cancer.

I smoked for a few years back in the day. Put them down one day and never picked ‘em up again.

There is so much more to tobacco & lung cancer that has to do with an individuals “pre-disposition” than we are aware of.
The Lord will take you when He wants you. Ain’t nothing you can do about it. So everyday, tell those you love how you feel, just in case you are called.


32 posted on 07/20/2014 4:19:26 AM PDT by Macoozie (1) Win the Senate 2) Repeal Obamacare 3) Impeach Roberts)
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To: Secret Agent Man

So cigarettes should be illegal?


33 posted on 07/20/2014 5:07:28 AM PDT by Wolfie
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To: Innovative

I once was a chain smoker. I smoked 5 packs a day, 7 days a week, 12 months a year.

22 years ago I quit “cold turkey” because my breathing was so affected by it that I could hardly breathe and had to do something or else the future really, really looked bad. So I quit.

It took a long time, but after 22 years, my breathing has recovered NATURALLY by about 80% and I really feel fine. Better yet, the house and car don’t reek with the smell of smoke.

The point is: I knew of the risks from the start. As time went on those risks were promoted by all means and the warnings were clear. I clearly dismissed all warnings and kept on smoking.

Amazingly, I don’t have lung cancer but if I did, I sure as hell would not sue the makers of cigarettes. That’s kind of like filing a lawsuit on GOD because he caused someone to drive through a “low water crossing” and drowned.

Thanks to the “Legal Industry” personal responsibility equals someone else is responsible for your delima....not you. You are not held accountable for anything any longer...someone or something else caused it.


34 posted on 07/20/2014 5:16:43 AM PDT by DH (Once the tainted finger of government touches anything the rot begins)
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To: Catsrus

It was mentioned in the article that the company plans to appeal.


35 posted on 07/20/2014 5:21:58 AM PDT by Innovative ("Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." -- Vince Lombardi)
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To: DannyTN

“...They are still putting chemical laden vapors into the air...”

And..........your automobile doesn’t?


36 posted on 07/20/2014 5:22:56 AM PDT by DH (Once the tainted finger of government touches anything the rot begins)
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To: Innovative

The one left cheering here is R.J. Reynolds, because the Supreme Court has previously ruled that an award of punitive damages more than 10x actual damages is unconstitutional.


37 posted on 07/20/2014 5:48:40 AM PDT by jdub (A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.)
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To: Innovative

As long as the government allows a product to be sold, while enforcing that company to put warning labels on said product, this ruling has no standing.

Look for it to be thrown out after a few more lawyers line their pockets.


38 posted on 07/20/2014 6:29:39 AM PDT by airborne (My heroes don't wear capes - My heroes wear dog tags!)
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To: zeestephen

Remember, this is the same government who condemns smoking tobacco and at the same time is promoting legalizing the smoking of marijuana.

If you smoke, you take your life in your own hands, and if you die from it, tuff $#!t buddy!

But I support personal responsibility - smoke if you want - and die if you will.


39 posted on 07/20/2014 6:32:50 AM PDT by airborne (My heroes don't wear capes - My heroes wear dog tags!)
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To: Innovative

HEY, I’m willing to start smoking to get my heirs onto this gravy train.


40 posted on 07/20/2014 7:25:18 AM PDT by wildbill
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To: boycott

I used to smoke also. Of course I had no idea it was bad for my health. I need compensation.


41 posted on 07/20/2014 8:26:28 AM PDT by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose o f a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: Innovative

I’m 63 and have know about the dangers of smoking since at least the time I was in high school. Mr. Robinson was an adult who had free will and decided to smoke cigarettes. No one is responsible for the consequences except him, and now he’d dead.

I cannot image were the numbers of $7.3 million and $9.6 million in “actual” damages could have come from.


42 posted on 07/20/2014 8:38:27 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (This is known as "bad luck". - Robert A. Heinlein)
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To: Innovative

The bottom line here is that RJR will successfully appeal and have punitive damages redlined to pocket change.


43 posted on 07/20/2014 8:44:30 AM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy ("Don't compare me to the almighty, compare me to the alternative." -Obama, 09-24-11)
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To: Sooth2222
For the obvious tax reasons, I've considered buying a retirement place in Florida, but this stuff is scary.

I love FL. Just pick your location carefully. Enjoy!

44 posted on 07/20/2014 10:51:56 AM PDT by Veto! (OpInions freely dispensed as advice)
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To: Wolfie

are you an idiot?


45 posted on 07/20/2014 4:44:36 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man ( Gone Galt; Not averse to Going Bronson.)
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To: tacticalogic

Well, I read the German study that quantified the chemicals.

Think about it. It makes sense. It’s putting that stuff into vapor form. And e-smokers breathe it out just like smoke. Which means bystanders are inhaling second hand e-vapors. Are they safe? Don’t know. I don’t know what’s in the e-vapors. I doubt most e-smokers know or care.

Nobody has studied what happens when you inhale these chemicals long term. So nobody should assume that they are safe.


46 posted on 07/20/2014 7:22:55 PM PDT by DannyTN (I)
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To: DannyTN
First you say the FDA says it's not safe.

Then you say nobody knows if it's safe.

If nobody knows if it's safe then how can they know it's not safe, and why would you repeat it if you already knew they can't possibly know that?

47 posted on 07/21/2014 3:30:48 AM PDT by tacticalogic
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To: Secret Agent Man

Just trying to understand your thought process. You cite a cigarette smoking story as the reason that drugs should be illegal because they hurt more than just the user. Seems logical that you would want cigarettes to be illegal too.


48 posted on 07/21/2014 5:18:21 AM PDT by Wolfie
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To: tacticalogic

If you don’t know it’s safe, then there is risk and it’s not safe. You need to remove logic from your name.


49 posted on 07/21/2014 9:11:48 AM PDT by DannyTN (I)
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To: DannyTN
If you don’t know it’s safe, then there is risk and it’s not safe. You need to remove logic from your name.

I'll leave it right where it is, while pointing out that "There is a risk that it's not safe." is not the same as "It's not safe."

Fear mongers trying to convince people it's the government's job to provide us with a risk-free utopia is part of the reason we're in the shape we are now.

50 posted on 07/21/2014 11:11:10 AM PDT by tacticalogic
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