05/28/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, USA // Tara Monks // Tara Monks
New Haven, CT – A 49-year-old smoker who developed cancer of the larynx won an $8 million lawsuit against R.J. Reynolds Wednesday, May 26, 2010, as reported by The Boston Globe. The jury verdict is the first against a tobacco company for New England, according to the plaintiff’s attorney.
Barbara Izzarelli of Norwich, also awaits a judge’s decision on whether she shall be granted punitive damages from R.J. Reynolds. The decision, which is expected to come next month, could bring the award to $24 million.
Izzarelli smoked Salem cigarettes for more than 25 years and developed larynx cancer. At 36-years-old, she underwent surgery that resulted in the removal of her larynx. She now lives with a hole in her throat and no sense of smell. She is forced to a diet of soft foods only.
The Connecticut jury found that Salem cigarettes, manufactured by R.J. Reynolds, were unreasonably dangerous and defectively designed. They ruled the company had acted with reckless disregard for the safety of consumers and should be required to pay punitive damages, according to Izzarelli’s lawyer.
The court saw evidence that Reynolds began a campaign in the early 1970s to market Salems to minors in order to establish a long-term demand. Prosecutors also displayed evidence that Reynolds designed the cigarettes with nicotine above the threshold for addiction.
A spokesman for R.J. Reynolds denied the accusations, stating the company was disappointed in the verdict and plans to appeal. The spokesman further pointed out that cigarettes have come with warning labels since the 1960s.
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