The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals for Florida recently overturned tens of millions of dollars in damages. The case involved the estate of a man who died of cancer after a lifetime of smoking and successfully sued several cigarette companies. The case was handed down in response to an appeal from the various tobacco companies who faced paying over $50 million in damages.
The damages were handed down by a jury following an extended trial. The tobacco companies’ appeal was centered on one main issue, that the plaintiff’s attorney continued to make incendiary comments that unfairly hurt their case at trial. Another issue that caused the case to be reversed was the jury instructions used at trial.
What Happened in This Case
Like so many cases against tobacco companies, this began with a 15-year-old boy who began smoking cigarettes. After becoming addicted to the nicotine found in the product, he continued to smoke until he died, eventually smoking three packs a day. Once a man, he could not stop smoking and eventually had a heart attack and was later diagnosed with bladder cancer.
The man tried to get treatment for his cancer, but chemotherapy and other drugs did not cure him. He died leaving behind a young family. The man’s doctor at the time said that it was the smoking that caused his death.
To prove their case of liability, the man’s attorneys brought in experts who testified about the addictive nature of nicotine. According to the experts, once a person is addicted to nicotine it is nearly impossible to quit, essentially taking away the ability of a person to choose. The man’s estate also argued that the companies marketed their products to teens and children, which is when he became addicted to cigarettes.
Tobacco Companies Face Tough Cases in Florida
In recent years Florida has been a hostile place for tobacco companies. Plaintiffs continue to bring cases against cigarette makers for wrongful death and punitive damages. In fact, the Fourth District Court of Appeals recently certified a question to the Florida Supreme Court on whether federal law preempts state law claims against tobacco companies.
No matter what happens in these two cases, one thing is for sure. People victimized by the advertising of tobacco companies and the product they sold, and continue to sell, will sue to be compensated for their injuries. Unfortunately, most of those cases are brought by the loved ones of men and women who have already died of cancer and other diseases.
Panama City Area Accident and Injury Law Firm
At The Pittman Firm we bring lawsuits on behalf of those who have died wrongfully because of the negligence of others. The law of Florida is clear, when a person or company negligently causes the death of someone, they will be made to pay for the damages. If you have been injured in accident, or are the family member of someone who died because of another’s negligence,contact us. Our team of dedicated professionals will bring our experience to bear on your behalf.