The national organizations for the many diseases linked to smoking are beginning to issue statements in support of the recent federal court decision that detailed Big Tobacco’s massive scheme to addict people to smoking “without regard for the human tragedy or social costs” that resulted. The federal decision, however, does not appear to have accomplished much for the victims of the scheme.
In Florida, on the other hand, the victims have a short window of time within which to file an individual lawsuit against the biggest tobacco companies. The Florida Supreme Court in its Engle decision has already made findings against the manufacturers that establish their gross misconduct and the link between a number of diseases and cigarette smoking. Florida smokers and the families of deceased smokers who believe tobacco caused serious medical problems should immediately confer with an attorney. My firm has created a questionnaire that permits us to determine the important facts and to compare them to the requirements of the Engle decision.
The St. Petersburg Times: A recent Florida Supreme Court ruling upholding the reversal of a $145-billion punitive damage verdict for 700,000 ailing smokers said cigarette manufacturers are negligent and their products cause 16 major diseases. That negligence finding makes suing Big Tobacco easier and opened the door to a new wave of litigation.
From the Engle opinion:
…smoking cigarettes causes aortic aneurysm, bladder cancer, cerebrovascular disease, cervical cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coronary heart disease, esophageal cancer, kidney cancer, laryngeal cancer, lung cancer (specifically, adenocarinoma, large cell carcinoma, small cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma), complications of pregnancy, oral cavity/tongue cancer, pancreatic cancer, peripheral vascular disease, pharyngeal cancer, and stomach cancer…
The Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) hailed yesterday’s court decision in United States v. Philip Morris USA, Inc. After a lengthy trial, a federal court in Washington, DC found that major tobacco companies engaged in racketeering and conspiracy for decades in a massive scheme to addict people to smoking “without regard for the human tragedy or social costs” that resulted.
Laurie Fenton, president of Lung Cancer Alliance, hailed the court’s decision as, “An important step toward correcting decades of stigmatization of lung cancer patients as not worthy of compassion, and the deliberate underfunding of the disease of lung cancer as not deserving of public health research dollars.”
The federal opinion is, indeed, worthy of praise, but Florida’s Engle decision puts justice and compensation within reach for the victims of the massive scheme.