In 2006, the Florida Supreme Court put an end to a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of thousands of smokers in Florida. It was filed against the tobacco industry and had resulted in a very large settlement that was thrown out by the Florida Supreme Court.
As a result, thousands of those smokers filed individual lawsuits against tobacco companies. The premise is that tobacco companies are responsible for injuries that result from smoking cigarettes, allegedly dangerous products. One particular Florida man who sued R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. was awarded damages for his suffering and for the conduct of the tobacco company.
The older gentleman is currently suffering from cancer and emphysema. He had smoked a certain type of cigarettes for many years and then developed the lung problems. The jury trial began at the end of January this year and concluded nearly two weeks ago. Though the man was awarded damages, it was much lower than the original settlement he asked for.
The jury that awarded the damages determined that the man was partially responsible for contracting the cancer and emphysema. The article does not give much information about the jury's reasoning as to why the man was partially responsible.
This type of products liability claim can be a way to inform others of the dangerousness of certain products. Though many may understand that certain products can be unsafe, they may not realize the extent of injuries that can result from the use of a dangerous or defective product. These types of products can include certain vehicles, baby cribs, or even simply toxic chemicals.
Source: Bloomberg online, "Reynolds Jury, Asked for $10 Billion, Awards $260,000," Bob Van Voris and Jerry Jackson, 11 February 2011