Florida Jury Returns Multi-Million Dollar Verdict for Family of Smoker against Liggett Group, Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds

Contact: Edward L. Sweda or Mark Gottlieb

(617) 373-8462 or (617) 373-2026

APRIL 26, 2010

A Fort Lauderdale, Florida state court jury on Monday awarded $15 million in compensatory damages to the family of Margot Putney, a longtime smoker who died of lung cancer in 1995. The jury found the defendants’ negligence and product defect were the legal cause of Margot Putney’s death.

The jury apportioned responsibility for Margot Putney’s death at 15% for Philip Morris, 30% for R.J. Reynolds, 20% for Liggett Group, and 35% for Ms. Putney. Additionally, the jury assessed $5 million in punitive damages, $2.5 million against R.J. Reynolds and $2.5 million against Philip Morris. If today’s verdict is upheld on appeal, the plaintiffs will receive $14.75 million.

Edward L. Sweda, Jr., Senior Attorney for the Tobacco Products Liability Project (TPLP), based at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, welcomed the victory for the Putney family, noting that the “verdict brings the total number of plaintiff victories in ‘Engle progeny’ cases in Florida to 14 out of 16 trials that have gone to a jury verdict over the past 14 months. This includes a streak of 12 consecutive plaintiff victories. Given this unmistakable trend in favor of holding corporate wrongdoers accountable for their actions, I anticipate even more victories for plaintiffs in these Florida lawsuits in the coming weeks and months.”

The Putney family was represented by Rossman, Baumberger, Reboso, Speir & Connolly in Miami. Charles Baumberger can be reached at 305-373-0708.

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