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Old 07-21-2014, 07:25 AM  
FishingRod FishingRod is offline
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RJ Reynolds' $23-billion punitive damage award unlikely to stand: experts

By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss and David Ingram
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A decision by a Florida jury to impose punitive damages of $23.6 billion against RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company on Friday is likely to be rejected on appeal or the award reduced substantially, lawyers with expertise in jury awards said on Sunday.
The award, which the cigarette maker has said it will contest, likely falls outside the boundaries for punitive damages that the U.S. Supreme Court has laid down in a series of cases, the lawyers told Reuters.
RJ Reynolds is a unit of Reynolds American , which last week announced it would acquire rival Lorillard Inc in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $27.4 billion, including net debt.
A Florida state court jury decided the award in a case brought by Cynthia Robinson of Pensacola. She is the widow of a chain smoker, Michael Johnson, who died of lung cancer in 1996 at 36.
After a four-week trial and 11 hours of deliberations, the jury returned a verdict granting compensatory damages of $7.3 million to the widow and the couple's child, as well as $9.6 million to Johnson's son from a previous relationship.
The same jury deliberated for another seven hours before awarding Robinson the additional sum of $23.6 billion in punitive damages, according to the verdict forms.
"Nobody thinks the $23 billion is going to remain," said Richard Daynard, a law professor at Northeastern University and the chair of its Tobacco Products Liability Project.
Because of constitutional guarantees of due process, the Supreme Court has shown a reluctance to allow punitive damages that are far out of line with compensatory damages in the same case, he said. The court's general guideline is that the ratio of punitive to compensatory damages should be below 10:1.

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The court precedent, though, still leaves room for a punitive award of more than $150 million, Daynard said.
Punitive damages are meant to discourage companies or people from bad conduct, while compensatory damages are intended to pay victims for their actual losses.
"There were all these concerns about runaway awards with regard to punitive damages," said Neil Vidmar, professor of law at Duke University. "Some are saying that nine times (the compensatory damages) is the absolute limit, but actually many times, the courts have cut that down to one or two times."
In 2008, the high court cut a $2.5 billion punitive damages award against Exxon Mobil Corp for the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off Alaska to about $500 million, saying the ratio in that case should be 1:1 with compensatory damages.
But there is "no mathematical bright line rule," said Professor Catherine Sharkey, a tort law expert at New York University School of Law.
Robinson sued R.J. Reynolds in 2008 over the death of her husband, Michael, claiming the company conspired to conceal the health dangers and addictive nature of its products. Johnson, a hotel shuttle bus driver, smoked one to three packs a day for more 20 years, starting at age 13.
Robinson's lawsuit originally was part of large class-action litigation known as the "Engle case," filed in 1994 against tobacco companies.
A jury in that case issued a verdict in 2000 in favor of the plaintiffs, awarding $145 billion in punitive damages, which at the time was the largest such judgment in U.S. history.
That award, however, was rejected in 2006 by the Florida Supreme Court, which decertified the class. It agreed with a lower court that the group was too disparate and that each consumer had smoked for different reasons.
But the court said the plaintiffs could file lawsuits individually. Robinson was one of them.
"I worked with juries for several decades, and I cannot put my mind on what they are doing, but the Florida jury (in awarding a huge sum) seems to be sending a message," said Duke's Vidmar. "This is a statement from the jury that this was an outrageous behavior by the tobacco companies."
RJ Reynolds has paid about $114 million for 15 Engle-related cases that have been finalized, the company said in an April regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Another $180 million in damages are on appeal.
Northeastern's Daynard noted that the $23 billion is close to the cost of the Reynolds-Lorillard merger deal, adding that Wall Street should be aware of the potential for more huge damage awards.
"You're going to have a lot more cases where juries could find themselves similarly outraged," he said. "The reluctance of the tobacco companies to settle these cases, thinking they can handle the cases as a matter of course, may be a mistake."
The two cigarette makers face thousands of suits, but the impact has not been as dramatic as was expected a decade ago, and trials have given investors an idea of what the companies will pay.
(Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss and David Ingram; Editing by Dan Grebler)
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Old 07-21-2014, 01:48 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by BucEyedPea View Post
I'm against excessive punitive awards. But I could make an exception*—just not here.

* I know of one but it would be a hijack.
No one really cares hijack away
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Old 07-21-2014, 01:51 PM   #17
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Evidence does not suggest those are risks with MJ.
It does if you are looking.

Marijuana smoke contains more carcinogens AND more tar than cigarettes. It's not good for you. Breathing smoke is bad for your health. ALL smoke is bad for your lungs.
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Old 07-21-2014, 01:53 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Garcia Bronco View Post
Technically speaking it's not been proven that tobacco cigs cause lung cancer. There is a correlation.
'proven' is a word that rarely ever gets used in science.

We'll just say there is overpoweringly strong evidence that smoke is bad for lungs regardless of the source.
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Old 07-21-2014, 02:27 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by WhiteWhale View Post
'proven' is a word that rarely ever gets used in science.

We'll just say there is overpoweringly strong evidence that smoke is bad for lungs regardless of the source.
Indeed you are correct. Most people that follow the scientific method would say exactly that. However the people that digest this stuff that do not understand that think one study or even a couple act as proof.
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Old 07-21-2014, 04:45 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Garcia Bronco View Post
Indeed you are correct. Most people that follow the scientific method would say exactly that. However the people that digest this stuff that do not understand that think one study or even a couple act as proof.
Or 6,000 more likely. The causality is there. Its like russian roulette, isn't certain but you odds just went through the roof.
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High Tech is Sorcery and the people who are really powerful are literally telling people to commit crimes using the psychic interspace created by the WWW and Wireless. They are controlling peoples actions like drones . The two things are deeply intertwined. The more man's brain interfaces with machines the creepier it gets. They use brains separate from a human body in a supercomputer and you have The Image of the Beast. The military has been doing this since the 50s
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Old 07-21-2014, 05:33 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Baby Lee View Post
Glad you had this opportunity to regale us with your trenchant observations.



Stephen Hawking is pouting in the corner from the blinding light of your genius.

Wow, you are deep.
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Old 07-21-2014, 05:42 PM   #22
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Meanwhile lets legalize a different cigarette. Genius idea.
Something is bad for you, so we are going to throw your ass in your jail if you do it!

I thought you were against the nanny state.
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Old 07-21-2014, 05:59 PM   #23
BucEyedPea BucEyedPea is offline
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Originally Posted by ping2000 View Post
Wow, you are deep.
He claims he's above attacks or trolling though.
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Old 07-21-2014, 06:00 PM   #24
BucEyedPea BucEyedPea is offline
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Originally Posted by FishingRod View Post
No one really cares hijack away


At this point in time, I'd have to try to remember what it was I had in mind then. Maybe, if I got back there it will come back.

Gotta get back to my class now.
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Old 07-21-2014, 06:03 PM   #25
BucEyedPea BucEyedPea is offline
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Oh yeah. Real quick though. It refers to the GE nuke plant that melted down in Japan which has had nuclear waste being dropped in the Pacific daily—with little reporting on it. Meanwhile dead starfish, sick seals etc are now washing up on the Cali coast. If this spreads to other oceans, I could favor a massive, possibly even global class-action lawsuit on GE with a punitive award large enough to put them out of business for eternity.
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Old 07-21-2014, 06:08 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by WhiteWhale View Post
It does if you are looking.

Marijuana smoke contains more carcinogens AND more tar than cigarettes. It's not good for you. Breathing smoke is bad for your health. ALL smoke is bad for your lungs.
Makes sense to me. Even firemen have issues such as higher rates of cancer etc, despite having self-contained respirators or if a fire doesn't contain any other toxic substances.


http://www.firefightersenemy.com/201...f-firefighters
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Old 07-21-2014, 06:10 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Baby Lee View Post
Glad you had this opportunity to regale us with your trenchant observations.

Stephen Hawking is pouting in the corner from the blinding light of your genius.
Is this the example you think I should follow?
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Old 07-21-2014, 06:28 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by BucEyedPea View Post
He claims he's above attacks or trolling though.
- Hey Mister!! Butt out of my private dispute on this public bulletin board!!!

If you had an iota of sense, you'd see that ping replied to ME, in a particularly ineffectual manner no less. So I neither attacked nor trolled him, except I guess, in BEP definition land. Probably makes everyone in the thread a neocon fascist too, somehow.

Take a Midol and retire to your fainting couch woman.
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Old 07-21-2014, 06:32 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by BucEyedPea View Post
Is this the example you think I should follow?
Oh my ****ing GOD!!

Of course, if someone responded to you with a naked '**** off' of course you should respond by pointing out that that is not much of a rebuttal. If you see that as the same as threatening the personal life and livelihood of someone who is substantively debating you, there's no helping you.


Broads. Yeesh, hormones can be a bitch . . . but then . . .
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Old 07-21-2014, 06:39 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Baby Lee View Post

Of course, if someone responded to you with a naked '**** off' of course you should respond by pointing out that that is not much of a rebuttal.
Oh my ****ing GOD!! Exactly what I was doing. When your testosterone hormones set you off.
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