Victims of the tobacco industry’s dangerous and deceptive practices continue to seek the financial retribution that they deserve. A Florida jury recently awarded a 75-year-old widow $3.8 million, finding that tobacco giants Lorillard Tobacco Co. and R.J. Reynolds were responsible for the death of her husband.
The plaintiff’s case stemmed from a 1994 class action lawsuit, in which a Miami jury awarded smokers and their families $145 billion. The damages award was subsequently overturned in 2006 by the Florida Supreme Court, which ruled that each smoker had to prove damages individually. The Palm Beach Post reports that, of the roughly 100 cases that have gone to trial statewide, about three-fourths have been won by smokers or their survivors. Tobacco companies, however, have appealed every unfavorable verdict.
Chicago Tobacco Class Action Lawsuits
Tobacco litigation has been the source of significant controversy for nearly two decades. In 1998, major tobacco companies reached a Master Settlement Agreement with 46 states pursuant to which the tobacco companies agreed to pay $206 billion to the states in order to satisfy their liability with respect to increased health care costs incurred as a result of tobacco-related medical conditions.
But in 2011, the tobacco manufacturers disputed more than $7 billion due under the Master Settlement Agreement attributed to the years 2003 to 2010. In December 2012, Philip Morris, Lorillard Inc. and Reynolds American Inc. agreed to pay 17 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico their respective portions of more than $4 billion that had been held back from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement.
Illinois was not part of this agreement, however, so it remains in separate arbitration that is expected to conclude by the end of the year. In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that smokers can use state consumer protection laws to sue cigarette makers for the way they promoted “light” and “low tar” brands. Nonetheless, some Illinois judges have refused to reopen cases in order to hear claims based on state law violations.
Get Help from Skilled Chicago Injury Lawyers
The Chicago product liability lawyers at Ankin Law Offices, LLC is committed to protecting consumers from dangerous and defective products through personal injury lawsuits or class action lawsuits. If you would like more information on Illinois tobacco class action lawsuits, do not hesitate to contact Ankin Law Office at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago injury lawyers.