A major tobacco maker of menthol cigarettes, was ordered by a jury to pay a widow $25 million in punitive damages and $16 million in compensatory damages.The state jury awarded the full amount that the widow’s attorney had requested as punishment for her husband’s death. The victim and his widow met in high school and were married for 38 years until he died of lung cancer at age 59.As an experienced trial attorney I have reviewed many cases of wrongful death and have completed same with favorable results. One of the most difficult things in life is to lose your husband who was the love of my life, and then to have to go on and fight one of the largest corporations in America, and fight for justice,” the widow said said after the jury announced the punitive damages verdict.
After a month long trial, the jury decided last week that the victim’s widow was entitled to $20 million in compensatory damages for the loss of her husband. The jury reduced the tobacco corporation’s responsibility for his death by 20 percent, for a final award of $16 million.The tobacco company is disappointed with the jury’s decision, and the company plans to appeal said a company spokesman. An attorney for the tobacco corporation had argued that his client shouldn’t be forced to pay punitive damages because cigarettes are not illegal. The corporation complies with all of the laws and all of the regulations that govern the manufacture, marketing and sale of cigarettes, he told the jury.
The widow hopes this verdict will send a message to all tobacco manufactures that cigarettes are dangerous and can kill.