FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., June 4, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- After a two-month trial in Fort Lauderdale, FL, a circuit court jury has awarded the family of a deceased smoker $75.35 million in both compensatory and punitive damages in one of the so-called Engle progeny tobacco cases.
The victim, Johnnie Calloway, was a 40-year smoker who died in May 1992 at the age of 59. The case was brought against the country's four largest tobacco companies by his widow Marvine Calloway and their daughter Starr Williams. A construction worker by trade, Mr. Calloway grew up in Mississippi, but spent the last 20 years of his life in Fort Lauderdale. He died from bladder cancer and heart disease caused by his addiction to nicotine.
The verdict is unique because this is the first, and thus far only, Engle progeny case in which compensatory and punitive damages were assessed against each tobacco company, said attorney Jonathan Gdanski, of Schlesinger Law Offices in Fort Lauderdale, which represented the plaintiffs. Other attorneys working on the case include Scott P. Schlesinger, Steven J. Hammer and Crane A. Johnstone.
The payout of the punitive award is as follows:
"The family recognizes that no amount of money can bring back their beloved husband and father," said Hammer. "Nevertheless, the verdict emphasizes the fact that this man's prematurely shortened life was of great value to the people who loved him. It further underscores the need for tobacco companies to acknowledge they sell a very dangerous product. Their cigarettes are designed to addict starting at a young age, and they kill as many as half of those who succumb to nicotine addiction," he added.
Although the verdict comes nearly 20 years after the Calloway family lost their husband and father, it underscores the family's unshakeable determination to see that the true dangers of the drug nicotine (long hidden by the tobacco companies' nationwide conspiracy, said attorneys for Mr. Calloway) were revealed in a Florida state courtroom.
The case, which was heard by Judge John J. Murphy III, was one of thousands of "Engle progeny" cases, named after a 2006 Florida Supreme Court decision that decertified a class-action lawsuit against the tobacco industry. That case involved Dr. Howard A. Engle, a Miami Beach pediatrician and smoker who served as the lead plaintiff in the original class-action suit that was filed in 1994. The decertification of the class action allowed former class members, including Mr. Calloway, to have their cases heard individually.
The Schlesinger Law Offices has been one of the most active law firms in the country handling tobacco cases.
About Schlesinger Law Offices:
Schlesinger Law Offices, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is a personal injury law firm focused on holding big corporations and major manufacturers accountable for the harm they cause and the damage suffered by the general public through acts of negligence and misconduct. The firm is currently working on cases involving Big Tobacco, Accutane medication, defective medical devices, and defective drug products. For more information log on to www.schlesingerlawoffices.com.
CONTACT: Todd Templin, 954-290-0810 email@example.com