A man who lost his wife 14 years ago to lung cancer as a result of her lifelong addiction to tobacco recovered a $1,650,000 verdict in a landmark victory against tobacco company R.J. Reynolds this week, ending an eight-year battle for justice.
Plaintiff attorneys Craig Stevens and John Dill of Morgan & Morgan represented John Maloney in the case on behalf of his late wife, Carolyn. Ever since she died Maloney has fought to hold the tobacco giant liable for her death.
The jury found that R.J. Reynolds, committed negligence, sold a defective and inherently dangerous product along with fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud and was part of a 50-year conspiracy that put consumers' health at grave risk. Jurors also found that the company's actions ultimately were the cause of Carolyn Maloney's addiction and death, and awarded the client a $1.65 million jury verdict as a result.
Additionally, because Stevens and Dill beat the expired Proposal for Settlement, R.J. Reynolds will have to pay attorney fees and costs — which could add up to over $1 million.
This case has special significance because it is part of the "Engle Progeny" litigation. After the Florida Supreme Court decertified a class action lawsuit filed by pediatrician Howard Engle for injuries suffered due to smoking, thousands of former class members were able to file individual lawsuits against cigarette manufacturers for their injuries and losses.
Mrs. Maloney was one of those former class members and this suit was the first of the "Engle" cases to be won in the jurisdiction.
"This verdict is a satisfying conclusion to the long fight for justice against the tobacco giant," Stevens said. Despite the setback of a mistrial in 2016, Morgan & Morgan's attorneys kept up the fight and retried the case this year, because they knew Mr. Maloney deserved better.
"I spent 8 years fighting this case for Mr. Maloney," said Stevens. "We went through two jury trials to finally get justice."
"We are very pleased that the jury did the right thing," said Dill. "It was a long battle, but worth every second. Our client had the love of his life taken from him because of corporate greed. Justice is sweet."
The case is John Maloney, as PR of the Estate of Carolyn Maloney vs. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., case number 07-CA-015578, in the Circuit Court of the 20th Judicial Circuit of the State of Florida.