Parker Waichman LLP and its partner law firms, the Alvarez Law Firm and the Paige Law Firm, have obtained a $20 million verdict in a wrongful death lawsuit filed against Lorillard Tobacco Company on behalf of a Florida woman who lost her husband to small cell lung cancer. A Dade County, Florida jury agreed that the plaintiff, Dorothy Alexander, was entitled to punitive damages from Lorillard. That stage of the trial will commence on Tuesday in the in Circuit Court of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit, Dade County.
The plaintiff’s husband, Coleman Alexander, died in 1995 following a 40-year addiction to cigarettes, including Lorillard’s Kent brand. According to a press release issued by Parker Waichman LLP, the jurors found that Lorillard was 80% responsible for Mr. Alexander’s death.
The Alexander lawsuit was one of the individual filings to come out of the so-called Engle decision. Under that decision, Mrs. Alexander only had to prove that her husband was addicted to cigarettes containing nicotine and that nicotine addiction was a legal cause of his death.
The Engle lawsuit was a class action filed in 1994 on behalf of Florida citizens who suffered from smoking-related illnesses. Plaintiffs prevailed in 2000, with a jury returning a verdict that included $145 billion in punitive damages. But an appellate court overturned the jury’s decision and reversed the award in 2004. In 2006, the Florida Supreme Court upheld the appellate court decision and de-certified the class. However, the Supreme Court ruled that individual Engle plaintiffs could file their own lawsuits.
Mrs. Alexander was represented in her lawsuit by Alex Alvarez of the Alvarez Law Firm, Gary Paige of the Paige Law Firm, and Jordan Chaikin, a partner with Parker Waichman LLP.