Brannock & Humphries Protects $32.75 Million Verdict On Appeal
Describing decades-long efforts by the tobacco industry to intentionally design addictive and deadly cigarettes and to conspire to hide the dangers of smoking cigarettes from the public, the Second District Court of Appeal today upheld a $32.75 million verdict obtained by a Brannock & Humphries client against tobacco companies Philip Morris USA, Inc. and Liggett Group, Inc.
The case was one of thousands stemming from the landmark Engle class action against tobacco companies, which the Florida Supreme Court decertified in 2006. Although the class was decertified, the Supreme Court allowed up to 700,000 people who could have won judgments to rely on the Engle jury’s findings to file suits of their own. These findings include conclusions that smoking causes certain diseases and that tobacco companies concealed smoking’s dangers.
The plaintiff in this case had developed lung cancer after addictively smoking cigarettes for decades, causing him to undergo two bilateral lung transplants. After the jury awarded the plaintiff and his wife a total of $32.75 million in compensatory and punitive damages, the defendants lodged an eight-layer appellate attack against the verdict. But, Brannock & Humphries successfully defeated each and every argument that was raised. And, not only that, the Second District’s opinion rejecting each of the arguments provides strong precedential value to other plaintiffs in the Engle progeny litigation.