Big Tobacco has some close friends among the Florida legislature meeting in Tallahassee. According to an article from tampabay.com, Senate Bill 2198 caps the bond Big Tobacco would have to set aside in case they lose the cases filed by about 8,000 sick smokers. These are cigarette lawsuits filed by survivors of spouses who died from cigarettes, or by those injured permanently.
The bill will allow Big Tobacco a safe haven to appeal every judgment by posting bonds of no more than $100 million. A bond is required to be posted before an appeal can take place. And filing appeal after appeal can take time – all in Big Tobacco’s favor.
If a plaintiff dies, their survivor can take over a case, but if both die, the case goes away. Paving the way for endless appeals is a slap in the face to these people who have already waited decades to have their tobacco litigation day in court. Both a House and Senate committee have pushed through the bills.
This was very good news for Philip Morris, R. J. Reynolds Tobacco, and Lorillard, which will be allowed to use the system against the injured.
Chalk this up to a corporate bailout for an industry that has been established by the Florida Supreme Court. Deceiving the public and knowingly manufacturing a product they knew was highly addictive, knowingly manufacturing a product they knew caused more than a dozen horrible diseases; and who intentionally marketed this very dangerous product to the youngest of Americans.We can thank the bill’s promoters. House Finance and Tax Council Chairwoman Ellyn Bogdanoff and Melbourne Republican Sen. Mike Haridopolous- friends of Big Tobacco who were worried that the huge corporations might undergo financial uncertainty with a lot of cash held up.
They were also concerned that Big Tobacco might claim it couldn’t pay the annual $205 million to the state as part of the 12-year-old landmark tobacco settlement.
But don’t worry too much. Most of these companies have branched out into other businesses, both domestically and internationally, and reportedly made more than $80 billion last year.
As the saying goes, Justice Delayed is Justice Denied.
If you or a loved one has suffered due to the dangers of cigarette smoking, the experienced personal injury lawyers in Florida at Farah and Farah can help and inform you about liability findings against the tobacco companies. Call 1-800-533-3555 for a case evaluation.