Sunday, July 20, 2014

Stupid Jury News

From Fox News: A Florida jury has slammed the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. with $23.6 billion in punitive damages in a lawsuit filed by the widow of a longtime smoker who died of lung cancer in 1996.
The case is one of thousands filed in Florida after the state Supreme Court in 2006 tossed out a $145 billion class action verdict. That ruling also said smokers and their families need only prove addiction and that smoking caused their illnesses or deaths.
The damages a Pensacola jury awarded Friday to Cynthia Robinson after a four-week trial come in addition to $16.8 million in compensatory damages.
Robinson individually sued Reynolds, the country's No. 2 cigarette maker, in 2008 on behalf of her late husband, Michael Johnson Sr. Her attorneys said the punitive damages are the largest of any individual case stemming from the original class action lawsuit.
"The jury wanted to send a statement that tobacco cannot continue to lie to the American people and the American government about the addictiveness of and the deadly chemicals in their cigarettes," said one of the woman's attorneys, Christopher Chestnut.
Reynolds' vice president and assistant general counsel, Jeffery Raborn, called the damages in Robinson's case "grossly excessive and impermissible under state and constitutional law."
This dead smoker was a chain smoker who smoked 3 packs of cigarettes a day.  Since 1965, there have been warning labels on cigarette packages and cartons.  There are signs posted in all places warning about the dangers of smoking.
And this dead smoker decided to smoke despite all the warnings.
The cigarette manufacturers did not force this dead smoker to buy the cigarettes, open the package, take a cigarette out, put it in his mouth, light it and then inhale.
There has to be some personal responsibility, but obviously, the jury in Florida were too stupid to figure that out and awarded the dead smoker's wife over $23,000,000,000.  And speaking of the dead smoker's wife, what did she do to get her husband to stop smoking.  Obviously, she didn't love her husband that much to get him to stop or the husband didn't love her very much to care to stop.
Lawyers try to get the stupidest people on juries and I guess in this case, they got a jury with a combined IQ of a termite, with apologies to termites.
When juries make these kind of awards, they make a mockery of our legal system and takes away a little bit of freedom away from us.

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