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Black Baby Goku
Apr 2, 2011

The Boy Who Lived


R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. was hit Friday with $23.6 billion in punitive damages by a Florida jury, one of the largest such awards in U.S. corporate and legal history.
A jury in a Florida state court determined Thursday that the widow of Michael Johnson Sr., Cynthia Robinson, should receive $17 million in compensatory damages in the case even though the jury had determined Johnson was 30 percent responsible for his own illness.
“We hope this verdict will send a message to R.J. Reynolds and other big tobacco companies that will force them to stop putting the lives of innocent people in jeopardy,” plaintiff attorney Willie Gary said in a statement Friday.
Though the punitive damages award is staggering — 75 percent of Reynolds American’s market capitalization — there is ample legal precedent that the amount is likely to be ruled excessive by a state appeals or state Supreme Court, and possibly thrown out or drastically reduced.
“The damages awarded in this case are grossly excessive and impermissible under state and constitutional law,” Jeffery Raborn, assistant general counsel for Reynolds, said Saturday in a statement. “This verdict goes far beyond the realm of reasonableness and fairness, and is completely inconsistent with the evidence presented.
“We plan to file post-trial motions with the trial court promptly, and are confident that the court will follow the law and not allow this runaway verdict to stand,” Raborn said.
The Johnson-Robinson case is considered an “Engle” case, which sprang from a decision in 2006 by the Florida Supreme Court that decertified a $145 billion class-action lawsuit initially filed by Howard Engle. That ruling allowed former class members to file individual lawsuits stating that cigarettes caused their respective illnesses.
About 8,000 plaintiffs have Engle cases pending in Florida courts.
Of the 118 Engle cases that have gone to trial and reached a verdict, 78 have been for plaintiffs and 40 for defendants, according to Ed Sweda, a senior lawyer for the Tobacco Products Liability Project at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston.
The jury verdict came
at the end of a heady week for Reynolds, which on Tuesday made official a long-rumored bid of $27.4 billion for its Greensboro-based rival, Lorillard. If approved by regulators, Reynolds would add Newport, the top-selling menthol brand, to its cigarette portfolio.
According to Gary, Johnson contracted lung cancer as “a direct and proximate result of smoking cigarettes. Johnson became addicted to cigarettes and was unable to quit smoking despite numerous attempts.”
“As a result of their negligence, my client’s husband suffered from lung cancer and eventually lost his life,” Gary said.
Reynolds would not be responsible for paying damages while the verdict is under appeal. However, it also could take years and millions of dollars in legal fees before a ruling on the appeal could be made.
The most relevant precedent began in October 2002 when a Los Angeles jury awarded $28 billion in punitive damages against Philip Morris USA — the largest tobacco damages award ever issued in an individual case.
The plaintiff, Betty Bullock, 64, received $850,000 in compensatory damages from the same jury.
In August 2011, an appeals court reduced the punitive damages to $28 million . Bullock died from inoperable lung cancer in February 2003.
Howard Acosta, an attorney for Robinson, told Law360 on Friday that Reynolds would need to bond the verdict to appeal it, which he said could be as much as $2 billion.
Acosta said the bond alone should motivate the tobacco company to “consider settling this case.”
Reynolds spokesman David Howard said he believes Florida state law caps the appeal bond at $5 million.
Another legal element likely to diminish punitive damages for Robinson is that lawsuits involving staggering punitive damages have reached the U.S. Supreme Court level on appeal.
According to a Reuters news agency story, the court ruled in a 2007 lawsuit involving Philip Morris that punitive damages to punish a defendant for harming nonparties of the case amounted to a government taking without due process and was thus unconstitutional.
In October, the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal of tobacco manufacturers, including Reynolds, of a multimillion-dollar Engle jury award.
It was the third time since 2012 that the Supreme Court made that decision.
That meant in those four cases, the tobacco manufacturers had no further legal recourse and were required to pay the award.
Reynolds said in its first-quarter earnings report that it had spent $69 million on Engle cases.
In October, Vector Group and its Liggett Group tobacco subsidiary reached a settlement in which it will pay a combined $110 million to more than 4,900 Engle plaintiffs in exchange for the dismissals of their claims.
It is paying $61 million in a lump sum and $49 million over a 15-year period.
Stephen Pope, the managing partner for Spotlight Ideas in London, said the remaining tobacco manufacturers’ Engle exposure could be close to $2 trillion.

Crazy... just crazy. Thoughts?


Dec 9, 2008


Jun 24, 2008

ever heard of bold you motherfucker

Comfy Fleece Sweater
Apr 2, 2013


I don't care

Sid Vicious
Jan 1, 2017

by Cowcaster

so did you get trained or why are all these threads coming here

Big Bowie Bonanza
Dec 29, 2007

please tell me where i can date this cute boy

they should instruct juries to not be idiots and award stupidly high amounts like that

Vincent Van Goatse
Nov 8, 2006

Don't be so gloomy. After all it's not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance.

Canned Ferret

posting in a Black Baby Goku thread

Apr 23, 2003

by Ralp

thanks for the gbs 1.0 op except with no actual content beyond the news article no one will read

Jun 29, 2007

Let's talk about where you're going.

if you smoke and catch the death, you deserve it

Alberto Basalm
Nov 14, 2005

I hope they dont go bankrupt, I need my camel unfiltereds

Comfy Fleece Sweater
Apr 2, 2013


Oldstench posted:

if you smoke and catch the death, you deserve it

You're only 30% responsible though

bring back old gbs
Feb 28, 2007

why donald duck never wears pants but he puts a towel on his waist after the shower?

- Jerry Seinfeld

this owns America owns

Oct 15, 2004

king of posting

tane wave

Apr 15, 2003

Want a better avatar? Boom! Better avatar. Don't say you never got nothing.

How much money am I gonna get when I die of lung cancer in 20 years

Invader Zym
Sep 19, 2002

drat, I thought Ryan Reynolds was going to pay $23.6 billion to everyone who saw Green Lantern.

Jun 18, 2004


maybe just not somking in the first place would have been a better idea i dunno

Oct 18, 2001

by Lowtax

That's a pretty sick gif

Oct 18, 2001

by Lowtax

I didn't read the op at all but I gather it has something to do with smoking. I picked up some e-cigs from Duane Reade the other day. Don't tell my wife though. I paid in cash.

May 8, 2007

by LadyAmbien

When something becomes unpopular enough you can sue it

That's the hidden secret of juries - angry retards hold the power of law

I'm going to sue beer

runupon cracker
Jan 13, 2006

This will hurt me more than it hurts you.

This is a loving ridiculous lawsuit. As a smoker, that guy deserved to die anyway.

Sep 14, 2002
Ask me about my micro-penis

tane jim's long face/damage hole etc

Whiskey Sours
Jan 25, 2014

Weather proof.

Alberto Basalm posted:

I hope they dont go bankrupt, I need my camel unfiltereds

Wait, Camels come unfiltered? And here I am smoking filtered Camels like a sucker.

Big Beef City
Aug 15, 2013

You have failed me for the last time, Colonel Pickering

Ramrod XTreme

the trifecta

Nov 7, 2012

I don't think anyone who heard this thought anything other then "Appeals court will overturn it/drop the penalty to a few mil"

the trump tutelage
Aug 30, 2008

Those of us who survived will always be bewildered when we recall his arrival.


I know cigarettes will kill me but I enjoy them

permaban me if I ever sue a tobacco company for contracting a smoking-related disease ok

Tweet Me Balls
Apr 14, 2009

unlimited shrimp posted:

I know cigarettes will kill me but I enjoy them

permaban me if I ever sue a tobacco company for contracting a smoking-related disease ok

buy me a forum upgrade if you get a good settlement

Aug 7, 2013


This is entirely ridiculous, unconstitutional, and clearly the result of a bunch of angry idiots lashing out at 'The Corporation.'

But someone with more money than me is getting screwed, so I'm okay with it.

May 10, 2013

lol that's probably what they make in a week

No. 6
Jun 30, 2002

Fallen Rib

Jan 28, 2003

Sounds like they should get into the Marijuana business.

May 26, 2011

Because it never leaves its bedroom, no one has ever seen this poster's real face.

Yams Fan

I want to be a judge just to make someone pay a jillion kernel lion dollars for something dumb and force somebody more competent to overturn the ruling

Feb 4, 2005


why are the tobacco companies the only ones that seem to get taken behind the woodshed like this, did they not lobby hard enough

Fog Tripper
Mar 3, 2008

Black Baby Goku posted:

Crazy... just crazy. Thoughts?

that is an incredible op, op

Sep 24, 2007

by Lowtax

Black Baby Goku posted:

Crazy... just crazy. Thoughts?

i thought i left the oven on. but when i got home it turns out i had not.


Alberto Basalm
Nov 14, 2005

Whiskey Sours posted:

Wait, Camels come unfiltered? And here I am smoking filtered Camels like a sucker.

yep. they come in a soft pack too

really good for when you wanna get knocked on your rear end and feel like someone just punched you in the throat

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