Florida Appeals Court Reverses its Own Decision, Restores $2 Million Verdict in Tobacco Suit

A Florida appeals court admitted it had wrongly reversed a nearly $2 million jury verdict issued by a lower court against tobacco giant Phillip Morris and reinstated the award to a widower whose wife died of lung cancer.

In February 2012, the Fourth District Circuit Court of Appeal agreed with Phillip Morris’ contention that the statue of limitations for the suit had run out and threw out the verdict. The widower had filed the lawsuit in December 2007 after his wife had died of lung cancer in April of 1996. The clock starts running on filing a claim once a plaintiff knows or should have known that he or she has suffered an injury caused by smoking. Phillip Morris contended that the widower was aware before May 1990 that cigarette smoking had caused serious problems with his wife’s health.

In reversing its decision, the court cited that there had been no evidence that the woman had been diagnosed with cancer prior to 1994, when a mass was discovered in her lungs. The 1994 cancer diagnosis fell within the limitations period. Originally, the lower court jury had awarded the plaintiff nearly $5.5 million in damages, but that was whittled down because the court found the woman 63.5% at fault for her death.

Phillip Morris has yet to comment on the reversal.

If you’ve been injured, or have lost a loved one, due to tobacco products, it is important to call the Florida tobacco litigation attorneys at Farah & Farah immediately. As this story points out, there is a statute of limitations when it comes to tobacco litigation and it is important that you contact our law firm to discuss your legal options. Call us at (800) 533-3555. The call and the consultation are free.