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?