In one of the largest verdicts ever against a tobacco company, a Florida jury has awarded a stunning $23.6 billion in punitive damages to the widow of a longtime smoker who died of lung cancer, Agence France-Presse reports.
The jury in the case Cynthia Robinson v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. voted Friday in favor of Robinson, whose husband died of lung cancer in 1996, the site writes. She was awarded more than $16 million in compensatory damages and $23 billion in punitive damages, the report says.
After a nearly four-week trial in the case filed in 2008, the jury deliberated for 15 hours to eventually determine that the tobacco company was negligent in informing Robinson's husband, Michael Johnson Sr., that smoking causes lung cancer and that nicotine is highly addictive, AFP writes.
“R.J. Reynolds took a calculated risk by manufacturing cigarettes and selling them to consumers without properly informing them of the hazards,” one of Robinson's lawyers, Willie Gary, said in a statement.
R.J. Reynolds plans to appeal the court decision and verdict, vice president and assistant general counsel J. Jeffery Raborn said, according to the report.
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