Brannock & Humphries Obtains Affirmance Of Multimillion-Dollar Jury Verdict Against Cigarette Manufacturers
Following written and oral advocacy by Brannock & Humphries, the Fifth District Court of Appeal has fully upheld, without comment, a Brevard County jury’s decision to award $36 million, including punitive damages, to three plaintiffs in a wrongful death lawsuit against Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.
The lawsuit was filed by the wife and two children of a smoker who died of lung cancer. The plaintiffs sought damages based on the cigarette manufacturers’ negligence, fraud, and conspiracy to produce a deadly and addictive product—all while concealing their knowledge of its harm. After the case originally ended in a mistrial due to Hurricane Matthew, a jury ultimately found the companies liable and assessed damages against them. Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds then appealed, raising challenges to the trial court’s admission of certain evidence and formulation of the jury instructions.
Brannock & Humphries, which had provided some legal support and assistance to the trial team in obtaining the verdict, took the lead in the Fifth District, extensively rebutting the tobacco companies’ arguments both in a written brief and in an oral argument held last week in Orlando. Today, the Fifth District agreed with Brannock & Humphries, issuing a per curiam affirmance of the jury’s verdict.