Another court decision against U.S. tobacco companies brought by the Florida Supreme Court on behalf of the widow of a 36-year-old smoker.
The court found R.J. Reynolds guilty of producing and marketing a product that caused his addiction and his death. Now this is just one of the many such suits, but in this case, there is something slightly different than the rest -- the damages.
The widow had already been awarded $16.8 million in compensatory damages, but in addition to that, the Florida Supreme Court ruled the tobacco company must pay punitive damages amounting to $23.6 billion!
(Pause for effect.)
I said $23.6 billion!
Now, I wasn't a friend of the tobacco industry even back when I was younger, stupider and a smoker. Even though you and I both know that amount will never actually be awarded, why doesn't some government office determine that, as an addictive killer, tobacco should be banned? If not, how about if smokers take their mortality into their own arena of responsibility and stop expecting the big payoff, even from industries who lie and misrepresent?
The warnings are everywhere. Your family shouldn't get rich because you chose to ignore them.
I'm Pat McMahon.