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Florida Cigarette Lawsuit Results in $8 Million Award For Family

Posted on February 27, 2009

According to an article from Bloomberg Press, Altria’s Philip Morris USA unit must pay $8 million in punitive and compensative damages to Stuart Hess’s family for the 55 year old man’s death in 1997. Hess was an avid smoker beginning at the age of 15, which resulted in lung cancer and ending his life far too early. The report also states that this verdict is the first of 8,000 individual Florida tobacco litigation cases to go to trial.

Hess’s wife, Elaine, wiped away tears in the courthouse hallway after jurors made their decision. She said she hoped the verdict would send a message to tobacco companies saying, “I just hope that all the thousands of other suffering families will also obtain similar justice.” The report states that anti-smoking activists hailed the verdict as a first step in winning tolerable compensation for consumers injured by tobacco products.

As you can see, tobacco lawsuits are very complex, with Florida’s high court ruling that the smokers involved in the lawsuit couldn’t sue as a group. The individual smokers and their families were given an extended amount of time to sue based on factual findings that cigarettes are addictive and cause cancer.

Throughout the following months and within the next year, thousands of people who have suffered life-long effects of tobacco use, as well as families who have lost loved ones due to lung cancer, will be fighting their cases in court.

Our hearts go out to all those who have been victims of tobacco addiction and we offer our experience as Florida cigarette addiction attorneys to all of those who have either themselves become addicted or suffered through the loss of a loved one due to the extended use and addiction of cigarettes. The Jacksonville tobacco lawyers of Farah & Farah are already handling hundreds of cigarette lawsuits in Jacksonville and locations throughout Florida. We are prepared to provide up-to-date information on these issues. Please contact Farah & Farah at 1.800.533.3555.