Bonita Springs, Florida (PRWEB) March 07, 2012
Alex Alvarez of the Alvarez Law Firm, Gary Paige of the Paige Law Firm, and Jordan Chaikin, a partner with Parker Waichman LLP, announce that a Dade County, Florida jury has awarded Dorothy Alexander $25 million in punitive damages against Lorillard Tobacco Company for the wrongful death of her husband, Coleman Alexander. Mr. Alexander died in 1995 as a result of small cell lung cancer, the result of a more 40-year addiction to cigarettes, including Kent brand cigarettes manufactured by Lorillard. (Case No. 07-46830-CA01)
Mrs. Alexander's lawsuit was heard in the Circuit Court of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit, Dade County, Florida, General Jurisdiction Division. Last week, the same jury awarded Mrs. Alexander $20 million in compensatory damages, bringing total damages against Lorillard to $45 million in this case, her lawyers said. According to her attorneys, the jurors found that Lorillard was 80% responsible for Mr. Alexander's death from small cell lung cancer.
The Alexander lawsuit was one of thousands of Florida tobacco claims to come out of the so-called Engle case, a large class action lawsuit filed on behalf of Florida citizens who suffered from smoking-related illnesses in 1994. In 2000, a jury returned a verdict for the Engle plaintiffs, including $145 billion in punitive damages. But in 2004, an appellate court overturned the jury’s decision and reversed the award. In 2006, the Florida Supreme Court upheld the appellate court decision and de-certified the class. However, the Supreme Court ruled that members of the original suit would be allowed to file individual lawsuits against tobacco companies.
Under the standard required by the Florida Supreme Court’s Engle decision, the Plaintiff needed to prove that Mr. Alexander was addicted to cigarettes containing nicotine and that nicotine addiction was a legal cause of his death. According to the Plaintiff's attorneys, the Dade County jury agreed that Mr. Alexander had, in fact, been addicted to nicotine, and had died as a result of that addiction. The jury also agreed that the Defendant’s negligence, the defective and unreasonably dangerous cigarettes they marketed, and Mr. Alexander's reasonable reliance on statements made by Lorillard that omitted material information regarding the health and safety of those cigarettes, were all legal causes of his death, her attorneys said.
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Contact: Parker Waichman LLP
Herbert Waichman, Partner