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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, 09:15 PM   #46
Baby Lee Baby Lee is offline
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Instead of being a colossal dick, why don't you explain to us what you think the points of this case are. From what I've read the woman is suing on the grounds that the cigarette companies don't disclose the addictive nature of their product and they don't fully disclose what carcinogens are in their products. Do you agree that anyone born in 1972 and started smoking in 1985 didn't realize smoking could cause lung cancer and wasn't aware that smoking cigarettes was addictive?
Short answer, completely honest and forthright? Or at least as close as a colossal dick can muster [perhaps you can explain later what specifically was dickish, and colossally so at that, about the statement to which you replied, so I can work on betterment].

Because a concise reply would just lead to a never-ending whirl of follow-up questions, some relevant, some not, some just plain loony, useless, misinterpretive or inflammatory. And a comprehensive reply, while it would quash a lot of said questions, particularly in open minds, would require a lot of tracking down and organization to present.

And for what? For me to present, for no monetary gain, the information someone else was able to use to secure this huge award? I have reams and reams of notes and discovery pertinent to this issue, collected contemporaneous to the development of this case, but they're in boxes and on CDs, Zip drives, floppies, etc. But digging them up, referencing them, and ordering arguments in a logical fashion is what is referred to as work.

Besides, we've had this discussion on the board before, just not in a while.

My best advice is to think of the jury as a proxy for yourself. It is a jury of your peers. This wasn't a back door deal, or an activist judge. It was 12 individuals reviewing evidence adduced by both sides in open court who decided that punitive damages should be awarded in a substantial and attention getting manner.
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:15 PM   #47
cosmo20002 cosmo20002 is offline
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I've been here, I'd say, a good while. And you get the honor of being the first to pull this lost puppy shit with me. I've had many a substantive row with posters on here, and we've went toe to toe and figuratively shook hands later. But none have made it their mission to post nothing save, 'here's that guy again, did you know I don't like him much' over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again.
You're delusional, queenie. I ignored your pretentious bullshit for the longest time. I found it obnoxious and vapid...usually a lame Dennis Miller impression about obscure celebrities and podcasts...but it was never really directed towards me so I didn't say anything.

Then YOU started up shit with me, more than once. A little searching could easily confirm this. Now you're all butthurt because sometimes I actually comment on your vacuousness and outright dishonesty. And I let the great majority of it go without comment. But YOU calling BEP hormonal--I couldn't let that go.
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:20 PM   #48
cosmo20002 cosmo20002 is offline
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Originally Posted by Baby Lee View Post
Short answer, completely honest and forthright? Or at least as close as a colossal dick can muster [perhaps you can explain later what specifically was dickish, and colossally so at that, about the statement to which you replied, so I can work on betterment].

Because a concise reply would just lead to a never-ending whirl of follow-up questions, some relevant, some not, some just plain loony, useless, misinterpretive or inflammatory. And a comprehensive reply, while it would quash a lot of said questions, particularly in open minds, would require a lot of tracking down and organization to present.

And for what? For me to present, for no monetary gain, the information someone else was able to use to secure this huge award? I have reams and reams of notes and discovery pertinent to this issue, collected contemporaneous to the development of this case, but they're in boxes and on CDs, Zip drives, floppies, etc. But digging them up, referencing them, and ordering arguments in a logical fashion is what is referred to as work.

Besides, we've had this discussion on the board before, just not in a while.

My best advice is to think of the jury as a proxy for yourself. It is a jury of your peers. This wasn't a back door deal, or an activist judge. It was 12 individuals reviewing evidence adduced by both sides in open court who decided that punitive damages should be awarded in a substantial and attention getting manner.
Oh, JFC...you could have just given the gist of it, ****ing drama queen.
Instead, you'll write a bunch of text explaining why you can't explain.

****ing drama queen.
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:31 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by cosmo20002 View Post
Then YOU started up shit with me, more than once. A little searching could easily confirm this.
Really? Then just give us the gist of it ****ing drama queen!!! OMGWTFBBQ!!!

Quote:
Now you're all butthurt because sometimes I actually comment on your vacuousness and outright dishonesty.
You've ACCUSED me of lying nearly every time I debunked whatever you used to think passed for analysis back when you almost seemed to try. But you likewise ran for the hills every time you were pressed to explain, let alone prove your baseless, petty, petulant slanders.
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:36 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by cosmo20002 View Post
you could have just given the gist of it
No.

If ever you had paid attention to actual, substantive, debates in your life, 'the gist' does nothing but invite a cavalcade of 'but what abouts' and 'so I suppose this means,' 'by that logic this wild-assed irelevancy must bes' and 'oh, so what you're sayings [which 99..999% of the time I'm not even CLOSE to saying].

And you spend twice as much time talking down over-reactors and mis-interpreters as you would have assembling a comprehensive presentation in the first place.
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:37 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by Baby Lee View Post
Short answer, completely honest and forthright? Or at least as close as a colossal dick can muster [perhaps you can explain later what specifically was dickish, and colossally so at that, about the statement to which you replied, so I can work on betterment].

Because a concise reply would just lead to a never-ending whirl of follow-up questions, some relevant, some not, some just plain loony, useless, misinterpretive or inflammatory. And a comprehensive reply, while it would quash a lot of said questions, particularly in open minds, would require a lot of tracking down and organization to present.

And for what? For me to present, for no monetary gain, the information someone else was able to use to secure this huge award? I have reams and reams of notes and discovery pertinent to this issue, collected contemporaneous to the development of this case, but they're in boxes and on CDs, Zip drives, floppies, etc. But digging them up, referencing them, and ordering arguments in a logical fashion is what is referred to as work.

Besides, we've had this discussion on the board before, just not in a while.

My best advice is to think of the jury as a proxy for yourself. It is a jury of your peers. This wasn't a back door deal, or an activist judge. It was 12 individuals reviewing evidence adduced by both sides in open court who decided that punitive damages should be awarded in a substantial and attention getting manner.
Any jury who would award any single plaintiff 23 billion dollars in a case about something someone did to themselves, is not a jury of my peers.

The rest of your post was just a bunch of bullshit explaining why you refuse to answer a simple question I asked.
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:40 PM   #52
cosmo20002 cosmo20002 is offline
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Originally Posted by Baby Lee View Post
You've ACCUSED me of lying nearly every time I debunked whatever you used to think passed for analysis back when you almost seemed to try. But you likewise ran for the hills every time you were pressed to explain, let alone prove your baseless, petty, petulant slanders.
And your lying continues. You're pathetic.
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:42 PM   #53
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And your lying continues. You're pathetic.
You've never once provided evidence of a lie. Just the baseless blanket accusation.

BTW, stop with all the kiddy diddling before some father finds out and knocks your lights out.
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:44 PM   #54
cosmo20002 cosmo20002 is offline
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No.

If ever you had paid attention to actual, substantive, debates in your life, 'the gist' does nothing but invite a cavalcade of 'but what abouts' and 'so I suppose this means,' 'by that logic this wild-assed irelevancy must bes' and 'oh, so what you're sayings [which 99..999% of the time I'm not even CLOSE to saying].

And you spend twice as much time talking down over-reactors and mis-interpreters as you would have assembling a comprehensive presentation in the first place.
Go look up a Supreme Court case. Even a really complicated one.
You'll find a short summary of the decision and reasoning.
But this one...this one is simply beyond anyone's ability to give a short summary on the what main arguments were.

****ing drama queen douchebag.
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:46 PM   #55
Baby Lee Baby Lee is offline
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Any jury who would award any single plaintiff 23 billion dollars in a case about something someone did to themselves, is not a jury of my peers.

The rest of your post was just a bunch of bullshit explaining why you refuse to answer a simple question I asked.
A simple question, eh? Would that I could condense 20 years of litigation, 10s of thousands of pages of discovery, thousands of hours of testimony and however many weeks of trial followed by however many weeks of deliberation into a short pithy answer.

But you did ask the question. Let me get back to you with my brief, it'll probably be a couple months or so, but naturally for you free of charge.
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:49 PM   #56
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You've never once provided evidence of a lie. Just the baseless blanket accusation.

BTW, stop with all the kiddy diddling before some father finds out and knocks your lights out.
Wow.

Playing the "Everyone hates you!" card and "You're a pedophile!" card within a couple hours. It appears I've broken you again. Not sure why since you're such a douchebag and you've resorted to the 'nuclear option' accusation/insult, but this is when I start to feel bad for you.
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:50 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by cosmo20002 View Post
Go look up a Supreme Court case. Even a really complicated one.
You'll find a short summary of the decision and reasoning.
But this one...this one is simply beyond anyone's ability to give a short summary on the what main arguments were.

****ing drama queen douchebag.
Do you even realize that this portion of this thread arose out of someone asking why the didn't SUE THE SCHOOL INSTEAD for not teaching the plaintiff to read?

The court, in it's summary, doubtless gave no consideration to such an asinine tangent, but asinine tangents like those and many more arise every time a big award comes down that people aren't informed about.
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:52 PM   #58
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A simple question, eh? Would that I could condense 20 years of litigation, 10s of thousands of pages of discovery, thousands of hours of testimony and however many weeks of trial followed by however many weeks of deliberation into a short pithy answer.

But you did ask the question. Let me get back to you with my brief, it'll probably be a couple months or so, but naturally for you free of charge.
Holy ****. My post asked one single question that could have been answered "yes" or "no". If you chose to elaborate, that would be your choice.

When you go to law school, are there a block of classes that teach you how to be an asshole or are you just naturally gifted?
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:52 PM   #59
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Wow.

Playing the "Everyone hates you!" card and "You're a pedophile!" card within a couple hours. It appears I've broken you again. Not sure why since you're such a douchebag and you've resorted to the 'nuclear option' accusation/insult, but this is when I start to feel bad for you.
You play your lying 'he's a liar' card over and over again, despite it being completely untrue and despite you making no effort to support your pathetic allegation. Must be the only card you have in your meager pack at this point.

And while the nobody likes you 'card' stands as it's objectively true, the pedophile 'card' was rhetorical, in a superficially harsh, but basically compassionate attempt to suss out any lingering sentience in your husk.
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Old 07-21-2014, 10:00 PM   #60
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Holy ****. My post asked one single question that could have been answered "yes" or "no". If you chose to elaborate, that would be your choice.

When you go to law school, are there a block of classes that teach you how to be an asshole or are you just naturally gifted?
You want my answer? The plaintiff proved its case to a rightfully seated jury, and received an award commensurate with the evidence they presented. That's my answer.

EDIT: In an effort to forestall your assessment of me as a dickish asshole, I will add

This isn't the first time this has come up here, and in other settings. And while back in the day I was content to zealously make my case because I worked for a firm that had clients whose welfare [and while I won't go into specifics, I can guarantee it's not what you think] depended on such zealous investigation, analysis, and advocacy, it's more than a little tiresome to gin up the machine again because another award has come down [BTW, all these decades and HOW MANY defense verdicts?] and a new crop thinks that they have a new twist no one has thought of.

Think of it this way, if you were a long time auto mechanic, then one day you stop to help a stranded motorist on your own time, and he gadflies about you saying, 'did you check the fuel tank? only idiots don't check the fuel tank. How about the dome light? Gotta be the dome light right, dummy? etc., while you give him a free tune up and system recharge roadside. And this had happened much the same way dozens of times before, would YOU weary at some point, particularly if you saw that the auto manufacturer just got Billions in bailout $$ that day to recall the very thing you're fixing roadside somewhere in America for free.

But to your question.

"Do you agree that anyone born in 1972 and started smoking in 1985 didn't realize smoking could cause lung cancer and wasn't aware that smoking cigarettes was addictive?"

It's not a yes or no question, or at least statistically it MUST be a yes question, to the extent I understand you to be asking is such a misinformed person in that time period is a possibility. Over millions of people with varying education, advertisement and authority recognition levels, there must be a statistically value subset who qualify as a yes.

I don't know what information this individual received, but I do know that the industry continued to vehemently deny any link between smoking, addiction and cancer, and 'evidenced' their denial with knowingly falsified medical expert documents and testimony well past that time frame. Further, as I more blithely said above, I know that what the jury saw fit to not only find in the plaintiff's favor but penalize the defendant with a very substantial punitive award.
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Last edited by Baby Lee; 07-21-2014 at 10:22 PM..
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