RJR Faces Punitive Damages After Verdict In Cigarette Case

A Florida jury found R.J. Reynolds partially liable for lung disease that caused $540,000 in damages to an entrepreneur and Winstons smoker, saying the man was 70% at fault for his injuries but nevertheless sending the case to a punitive damages phase.

The jury in Palm Beach County said that Lloyd Spurlock, who developed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease before he died in 2013, could at least partially blame RJR for his lung disease.

It said Spurlock’s pain and suffering were worth $500,000 and his health care costs were around $41,000.

The jury also found there was “clear and convincing evidence” that punitive damages are merited.

Born in 1934, Lloyd Spurlock first tried cigarettes at age 8, in 1942, and became a pack-a-day smoker by 1954/

Spurlock — who owned a bar, a landscaping business and a janitorial service during his working life — was functionally illiterate after having left school in the third grade, but still would have heard marketing messages that continued decade after decade.

Law360: https://www.law360.com/articles/1392405/rjr-faces-punitive-damages-after-verdict-in-cigarette-case

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