Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Florida Court Awards US$ 145 Billion in Damages against US Tobacco Companies

Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Florida Court Awards US$ 145 Billion in Damages against US Tobacco Companies

Article excerpt

In a historic decision, a six-member jury in Miami, Florida, has awarded US$ 145 billion in punitive damages against five major American tobacco companies, after hearing 157 witnesses in a trial that lasted two years. The class-action lawsuit was originally filed in 1994 on behalf of an estimated 300 000-700 000 Florida smokers by Stanley and Susan Rosenblatt, a husband and wife legal team. The sum is the largest punitive damages award in US history.

Frank Amodeo, 61, a throat cancer sufferer and one of the three main plaintiffs in the case, said the judgement was "fair and just". Amodeo has been fed through a gastroscopic opening for 13 years. "No amount of money in the world can change the way I eat, 15 cents or US$ 15 million," said Amodeo. "This wasn't about money. This was about sending a message." Stanley Rosenblatt, the leading lawyer for the sick smokers, called it "a day of reckoning". He added: "Six thoughtful courageous Americans listened quietly and carefully to testimony for close to two years, and damn it, they did the right thing."

Dan Webb, defence lawyer for Philip Morris, said: "We are disappointed with the jury's verdict". …

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