The 1994 class action lawsuit, Engle V. Liggett Group Inc, claimed that tobacco and cigarette companies conspired to hide the dangers of smoking in the mid-20th century, leading to numerous smokers becoming addicted and, ultimately, contracting lung cancer and other fatal, smoking-related diseases. Although the class was decertified following a victory at trial, the judge ruled that future cases could benefit from the outcome, namely that tobacco companies had been responsible for launching a dangerous product onto the market, and hiding the potential risks and addictive qualities of that product. A recent lawsuit in Florida drew on this ruling to secure $19.5 million for the family of a deceased smoker who had contracted lung cancer.
1994 Class Action Leads to 2018 Payout
The latest of thousands of cases to spin off from the Engle V Liggett Group Inc. ruling, this one was brought by the family of Florida pawnbroker, Frank Graffeo, who passed away in 1995 after smoking for several decades. Mr. Graffeo had started smoking as a teenager in the 50s, and had quit smoking two years before his death. R.J Reynolds were found responsible for the lung cancer which ended Mr. Graffeo’s life, as they were involved in scheming to disguise the risks of smoking. The court awarded $4.5 million in compensatory damages to the widow and daughter of Mr. Graffeo, as well as $15 million punitive verdict against R.J Reynolds. The Graffeo suit focused primarily on nicotine addiction.
Product Liability in Los Angeles
Product liability law comes into force when a person is injured, or loses their life, due to a defect in a product. The specific defect will, of course, vary from product to product, but can include a defect introduced during the manufacturing process, perhaps when a faulty batch is produced, an error made in the designing of the product, or a failure to provide adequate warnings or instructions to enable the user to avoid dangers. For example, advising smokers that nicotine is addictive, and that smoking can cause lung cancer and other serious health conditions.
When you attempt to approach the manufacturer of a defective product yourself, you may well find that you telephone calls and emails go unanswered, and you’re spending a lot of time and effort not getting very far with your complaint. When you seek legal representation from an expert Los Angeles product liability attorney from Compass Law Group, PC you can rest assured that, not only is your case in good hands, but we will get a result.
Using our wealth of legal knowledge and years of experience, a Los Angeles product liability attorney can help you secure the compensation you deserve. You should not have to cover rapidly mounting medical bills, or accept lost earnings, due to the negligence of a manufacturer. Manufacturing defects, design defects, and a lack of instructions or warnings have all featured in our many successful verdicts.