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US widow wins $23.6bn tobacco payout


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#1 -Razorfold

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 04:59

A US court has ordered the country's second largest cigarette company to pay $23.6 billion (£13.8bn) to the wife of a smoker who died of lung cancer.

RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company was hit with the punitive fine in addition to $16.8m (£9.8m) in compensatory damages.

Cynthia Robinson took action against the firm in 2008, seeking compensation for her husband's death in 1996.

An official at the company said the court's verdict was "far beyond the realm of reasonableness and fairness".

During the four-week trial, lawyers for Ms Robinson argued that RJ Reynolds was negligent in informing consumers of the dangers of consuming tobacco.

This negligence, the lawyers said, led to her husband Michael Johnson Sr contracting lung cancer from smoking after becoming "addicted" and failing multiple attempts to quit.

'A message for tobacco firms'

"RJ Reynolds took a calculated risk by manufacturing cigarettes and selling them to consumers without properly informing them of the hazards," Ms Robinson's lawyer Willie Gary said.

"We hope that this verdict will send a message to RJ Reynolds and other big tobacco companies that will force them to stop putting the lives of innocent people in jeopardy," he added.

RJ Reynolds plans to appeal against the court's decision, vice president and assistant general counsel Jeffery Raborn said in a statement.

"This verdict goes far beyond the realm of reasonableness and fairness, and is completely inconsistent with the evidence presented," Mr Raborn said.

The punitive damages awarded to Ms Robinson were said to be the largest of any individual case stemming from a class action lawsuit filed in Florida.

Several similar cases have resulted in smaller payouts after the state's highest court ruled that smokers and their families only had to prove addiction and that smoking caused their illness.


Source: http://www.bbc.com/n...canada-28389273


Holy. ######ing. ######. I'm sure this will be appealed to the moon and back but still...almost $24 billion.


#2 T3X4S

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 05:03

They will never see a penny probably - it will be like the last tobacco lawsuit fiasco - only the lawyers got rich.



#3 sidroc

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 05:20

I could get behind this except for what she won, that is way too much.



#4 +_Alexander

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 23:56

I could get behind this except for what she won, that is way too much.

You need a large punishment otherwise it won't matter.

Imagine if you will, you killed a person and was ordered to pay one dollar as punishment... that wouldn't seem fair, would it?
Big companies / corporations make billions and it is only fitting to make a punishment hurt, a lot.

#5 sidroc

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 23:58

Large sure, but this amount far exceeds norms.
Even in civil wrongful death cases were even intent to murder is established suns this big are not rewarded.

#6 Stoffel

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 00:02

This is insane!

How can you still claim, even in the 80s or 90s that you didn't know that smoking is bad for you.

 

If you have such an issue with it, ban all cigarettes, but they won't do that because there are to many taxes made by selling cigarettes.



#7 astropheed

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 00:07

I would hope that $23.59b would go to stop smoking campaigns and lung cancer research. I'm sure the other $0.01bn would be more than enough money to live off of. You know, that is if she sees a single dime of it.



#8 +_Alexander

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 00:08

I would hope that $23.59b would go to stop smoking campaigns and lung cancer research. I'm sure the other $0.01bn would be more than enough money to live off of. You know, that is if she sees a single dime of it.

Does court awarded money get taxed?

#9 HawkMan

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 00:14

Normally the only ones who can sue are the ones who are old enough to have started smoking back when it was advertised a "healthy". meaning usually they are pretty old by now. this article never mentions age. but, he would have to be a 20 year old Bill Gates to be in 1996 to warrant that amount. 



#10 astropheed

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 00:22

Does court awarded money get taxed?

 

Oh probably, but I think you get what I mean.



#11 theyarecomingforyou

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 00:36

There is zero chance of this settlement being paid out in full. It will be appealed and the final amount will be a fraction of this.