The Florida Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Avera & Smith client Lucille Soffer in a case against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company that will have significant implications for other Engle progeny tobacco-related cases statewide. As a result, Avera & Smith will litigate the matter of punitive damages in the case before the Eighth Judicial Circuit of Florida, perhaps later this year. The Supreme Court ruling reversed a First District Court of Appeal decision in 2012 that affirmed the compensatory damages verdict in the case, but found that the plaintiff was not entitled to seek punitive damages on the unintentional tort claims for negligence and strict liability.
A Pensacola Circuit Court jury returned a $34 million verdict against R.J. Reynolds tobacco company on behalf of the family of Garry O’Hara, a man who passed away from lung cancer at age 50 subsequent to quitting smoking at age 35.
Trial verdict in the amount of $17.5M to the estate of Lamar Hall, who died in 1995 of lung cancer related to nicotine addiction. This case was the first to be heard in North Central Florida after a landmark ruling by the Florida Supreme Court in 2006, in which the high court upheld a jury verdict finding tobacco companies liable for smoking-related injuries and deaths, but said that smokers and their families must bring individual suits to prove that smoking harmed them. In this case, and others following, attorneys challenge whether or not the tobacco company concealed or omitted information for decades regarding the dangerous health effects caused by cigarette smoking.
An Orange County jury awarded the widow of Richard Wiederhold $10.1 million in damages in a disputed liability case. Mr. Wiederhold was rendered a quadriplegic as a result of the accident involving a Domino’s delivery driver and subsequently passed away due to complications from his injuries.
Trial verdict in amount of $5M. Decedent John Alexander died in 1999 after suffering tobacco-related chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Trial verdict in the amount of $2M rewarded to the estate of the deceased, who was killed instantly when his car was struck by a truck operated by Mathews Trucking Company.
Trial verdict in the amount of $1.9M in damages to plaintiff, a commercial crabber whose boat collided with an unmarked dredge pipeline near Horseshoe Beach, Florida.
Trial verdict in the amount of $1M for the estate of Peter Mack, Sr., who died of laryngeal cancer as a result of smoking
Mediated settlement in the amount of $235,000 in workers’ compensation claim for disability claim for worker involved in a motor vehicle accident while driving a company vehicle. Subsequent mediated settlement for $325,000 for personal injury claim.
Settlement in the amount of $300,000, including purchase of an annuity. Gonzalez, an illegal alien working as a roofer, fell from 2nd story of building, resulting in traumatic brain injury. Dispute regarding employee/employer relationship resulting in Judge’s decision that this relationship did, in fact, occur.