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Family of Smoker That Died from Lung Cancer Gets $10.5 Million
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Summary: Three tobacco companies have been ordered to pay $3 million each for their role in the death of a smoker from lung cancer.

A Florida jury awarded the family of smoker Glodine McCoy $10.5 million to be paid by three tobacco companies. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Philip Morris USA Inc., and Lorillard Tobacco Co. will pay $3 million each in punitive damages. McCoy’s 87-year-old widower was also awarded $1.5 million for the pain and suffering of losing her in 1997.

  
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The Engle class-action tobacco lawsuit was disbanded by the Supreme Court in 2006, resulting in their wrongful death lawsuit to be filed soon after. They did not have to prove product defect, fraudulent concealment, conspiracy to conceal, or negligence since they had been part of the class-action.

Until 1991 when McCoy quit smoking after suffering a heart attack, she had smoked 21 brands of cigarettes. She has moved away from unfiltered cigarettes after tobacco companies marketed filtered cigarettes as a healthier option. Before her death she had developed peripheral vascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coronary artery disease, and lung cancer.

The defense team centered their argument on McCoy’s liability since she chose to smoke and was able to quit in 1991, so she could have easily quit earlier. They also questioned the timeline of her illnesses since the Engle suit had a statute of limitations from 1990 to 1996. Originally the defense’s experts testified that she likely had heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease before 1990 based on when she was first diagnosed. They were unable to get experts to testify during the trial to support that claim so the statute of limitations was taken away.

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McCoy was found to be 35 percent liable for her damages, R.J. Reynolds 25 percent liable, and Lorillard and Philip Morris 20 percent each liable. Since the tobacco companies’ torts were deemed intentional, the family will still be able to collect the full $10.5 million.

Scott Schlesinger of Schlesinger Law Offices represented the McCoy family.



Source: http://www.dailybusinessreview.com/home/id=1202732806151

Photo: wikipedia.org



 

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