Big Tobacco Loses Big

Discussion in 'Law and Justice System' started by Madeline, Nov 17, 2010.

  1. Madeline
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    Madeline BANNED

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    R.J. Reynolds Ordered to Pay $80 Million by Jury - BusinessWeek

    Florida has some liability law most other states do not have. As a rule, to hold a defendant liable for damages you must prove that the product they manufacture caused the harm. To get the state's own Tobacco Litigation moved forward, the Florida legislature adopted an alternative theory: you need merely prove the defendant's market share of all similar products, not that its products actually caused the harm. (I do not know whether all the states involved in the Tobacco Litigation enacted such laws; they may have....but Florida has always been the focus of analysis of this emerging law.)

    Before you applaud this and declare the tobacco industry dead on its feet, most legal scholars believe that if the Florida Tobacco causation law is constitutional, it cannot be applied only to tobacco. So, a gun and ammo manufacturer could be made to pay (especially if sued by the states, seeking to recover health care costs for GSW victims) based on its market share without any evidence that its products were the agents of harm. Guns, pharmacuetical drugs, medical devices, "defective" cars, etc. Sky's the limit, IMO. It has not yet happened, to my knowledge, but it is virtually inevitable.....no law on liability and causation can be made to apply only to tobacco.

    This seems to me to be industry-killing by civil litigation, with a ginormous pot of gold for the plaintiffs and their lawyers. Are we really better off if the assets of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. are liquidated and paid over to Dianne Webb and her lawyers, Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley? Will they employ as many people? Pay as much in taxes?

    This makes even less sense to me than outright nationalization/condemnation the industry would make.

    Your thoughts?
     
  2. Revere
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    Congress will have to show the balls to nationalize, or outlaw tobacco first.

    I guess they will have to sell lots more cigarettes to pay that settlement.
     
  3. uscitizen
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    uscitizen Senior Member

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    Damned red states and their tort reform.
     
  4. Revere
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    How much will cars cost if you can sue the manufacturer any time you crash one?
     
  5. zzzz
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    zzzz Just a regular American

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    Did you mention that tobacco had won the previous 8 cases? The numbers sound big but I think that most of these large awards are reduced on appeal if not thrown out altogether.

    A Streak is Broken: Plaintiff Wins $80 Million Tobacco Verdict in Florida - Law Blog - WSJ

    Looking at this how could you relate this to guns? They are not defective, the people are.
     
  6. Madeline
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    The government has a very schzoid attitude towards smoking, no doubt.
     
  7. Zoom-boing
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    Zoom-boing Gold Member

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    :smoke:
     
  8. Madeline
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    There are a raft of defects in gun and ammo design and distribution that might could render the industry vulnerable. My point is not that they are or will be tomorrow -- just that I dun expect this death-by-civil-litigtation routine to stop at tobacco.
     
  9. zzzz
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    zzzz Just a regular American

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    Too many lawyers looking for someone to sue.
     
  10. Madeline
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    Madeline BANNED

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    Lawyers had fuck-all to do with this, zzzz. Florida needed cash and badly and the legislature did not want to risk their careers by raising taxes or cutting services, so they shang haied the assets of Big Tobacco -- and then promptly squandered them. You can thankies Jeb! Bush, former Florida governor, for this one.
     

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