Chain smoker’s widow awarded £13.9 billion in compensation
America is widely known as the land that created “compensation culture” but in the recent award of £13.9 billion ($23.6 billion) in punitive damages and £9.9 million ($16.8 million) in compensatory damages to the widow of a chain smoker, a truly ridiculous precedent has been set.
Cynthia Robinson, whose husband died of lung cancer at 36 from smoking since he was 13, won what has been described as a “runaway verdict” by defendants the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in Pensacola, Florida after a four week trial.
After the verdict, Christopher Chestnut, one of Robinson’s attorneys commented:
“The jury wanted to send a statement that tobacco cannot continue to lie to the American people and the American government about the addictiveness of and the deadly chemicals in their cigarettes”.
Jeffery Raborn, R. J. Reynolds’ vice president and assistant general counsel responded:
“This verdict goes far beyond the realm of reasonableness and fairness, and is completely inconsistent with the evidence presented… We plan to file post-trial motions with the trial court promptly, and are confident that the court will follow the law and not allow this runaway verdict to stand”.
Mrs Robinson herself simply stated “I got so excited” on hearing it was billions rather than millions that she had won. We’re sure she did. Though the figures awarded will no doubt be reduced on appeal, she’s (technically) now as rich as George Soros.
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